MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Cities around the world can combat climate change without national government support, the mayors of Sydney and Vancouver said on Wednesday, amid fears that a Donald Trump U.S. presidency could undermine efforts to limit global warming.
The two were in Mexico City for the C40 Mayors’ Summit, where nearly 50 mayors and deputies from around the globe will discuss environmental issues such as air pollution.
Since his election victory, President-elect Trump has said he was keeping an “open mind” on whether to pull out of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle climate change. Trump had previously called man-made global warming a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.
“Denial doesn’t stop climate change accelerating so it’s even more important for cities to do their bit,” Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore told Reuters.
“An important message from Sydney to the U.S. cities is: ‘Notwithstanding a Trump–type government, you can get on and do an incredible amount,'” she added.
Cities are responsible for up to 70 percent of the world’s harmful greenhouse gases, according to a 2011 report by the United Nations.
Earlier in November, a group of 40 U.S. mayors sent an open letter to Trump stating that they would forge ahead in tackling climate change, even without his support.
“In Canada and Australia we’ve had very difficult governments in recent years that have denied climate change and slowed down progress to adapt,” Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson told Reuters at the event.
“We do our best with our national governments regardless of their stripes ... Trump’s election certainly affects our overall state of confidence,” he added.
Having faced less interest from national governments in the past, both Robertson and Moore said that they have turned to the private sector to help solve climate-related problems.
“We’re starting to realize the private sector is a much more effective partner for many of our city strategies,” Robertson said.
The Paris accord seeks to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.
Reporting by Christine Murray; Editing by Sandra Maler