Latin American Mayors Avow Clean Bus Transit

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On Friday, CleanTechnica brought you news of an exciting commitment to sustainability by big-city mayors in the European Union. Also news last week: Latin American mayors racked up wins for joining the international Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest cooperative city effort to date to implement meaningful, sustainable local actions that will help address climate change globally.

Electric bus (think

At the same meeting, 20 global C40 cities signed a powerful agreement to a City Clean Bus scheme that could green 142,217 municipal buses all over the world by 2020. Shifting all of them to zero-emission buses would reduce emissions to 2.28 million tons of CO2 equivalent annually.

The international C40 group includes 75 large and engaged cities, five of them (Amman, Durban, Jaipur, Quito, and Salvador) inducted just two weeks ago. UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change and C40 Board President Michael R. Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, commented:

“The C40 network keeps growing because more and more cities are finding opportunities to confront climate change in ways that improve people’s lives today. For the U.N. climate treaty negotiations this December to be successful, nations will have to commit to doing more and acting faster to shrink their carbon footprints—and cities, including the five new members of C40, are helping point the way forward.”

The Latin American mayors convened at the C40 Latin American Mayors Forum, Friday’s one-day climate meeting in Buenos Aires. They included México City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera, Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri, Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, and former President of México and Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy Felipe Calderón. These and other Latin American cities (both C40 members and nonmembers) have a huge potential to reduce global atmospheric pollution by greenhouse gases. Together, they could cut emissions by an estimated 2,500 MtCO2 by 2030 (equivalent to taking 526 million cars off the road).

The full list of signatories:

C40 Cities: Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Curitiba, Lima, Mexico City, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo

Non-C40 Cities: Asunción, Belo Horizonte, Cali, Cordoba, Fortaleza, La Paz, Panama, Santiago, Santo Domingo, Tegucigalpa, Valparaíso

Said C40 Chair and Rio Mayor Paes about the call to decarbonize urban mass transit:

“By taking these decisive steps here today, Latin American cities are leading the way in driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens…. Mayors, through networks such as the C40, are learning from each other, exchanging ideas, and thereby accelerating local action on the ground. Today’s event is testament to this promising trend.”

In addition to Latin American cities, many C40 cities in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America also support the City Clean Bus Declaration of Intent:

  • Africa: Addis Ababa, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Tshwane
  • Europe: Copenhagen, London, Madrid, Oslo, Warsaw
  • Latin America: Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Curitiba, Mexico City, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador
  • North America: San Francisco
  • East Asia: Seoul
  • Southeast Asia: Jakarta

Non-C40 Latin American cities that have expressed support for the declaration include Asunción, Belo Horizonte, Cordoba, Fortaleza, La Paz, Santo Domingo, Tegucigalpa, and Valparaíso.

Mayor Bloomberg notes:

“Cities across Latin America are doing smart work to make people’s lives better while also shrinking carbon footprints, in many cases by finding new ways to expand mass transit. Making a commitment to the Compact of Mayors is another important step forward for Latin American cities, because it will help them set clear climate goals, measure their progress, and share best practices with the rest of the world. With the U.N.’s Climate Change Conference in Paris just around the corner, cities around the region are providing leadership at a critical time.”

President Calderón adds: “In signing the new Compact of Mayors today, mayors are not only committing to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, more resilient economy, converting major cities’ potential to reduce emissions into a reality. They’re also providing a concrete example for their national governments to follow in the Paris climate conference later this year.”

Committing to the international Compact of Mayors, the other action taken Friday, will accelerate the cities’ transition to low-carbon, more resilient economies. It involves each city compiling a GHG inventory using the new GPC standard for city-scale emissions to help prepare for site-specific hazards and vulnerabilities and create a target-oriented climate action plan.

Mexico City Mayor Mancera points out that “implementing and promoting clean mass transit systems in cities not only reduces emissions and enhances air quality,” but also has “the potential to greatly improve liveability and social inclusion, connecting people to economic opportunities.” It’s a very good example of “an international group with common interests driving climate action faster than a top-down incentive could.”

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