Seoul Mayor calls for climate funds to be channelled through cities

Climate finance should be directed at ambitious cities who can demonstrate their commitment to cutting emissions, the Mayor of Seoul and Chair of World Mayors Council on Climate Change has said.

Park Won Soon says cities are the most effective vehicle to overcome the ‘deadlock’ of the international climate talks, arguing that urban leaders are in the perfect position to offer “direct climate action”.

“We need a new way of partnership and financing models to turn these ambitions into reality”, Park said.

The latest round of UN climate talks in Doha ended with little in the form of firm financial pledges or emission cuts, and Park argues that in terms of delivering on these core issues, local administrations are best placed to achieve real results.

“Mayors and local governments deliver direct climate action everyday through delivery of services in transport, waste, housing, energy assisted with their legislative, enforcement and procurement power,” he said.

“These are the building blocks for transforming our Urban Civilization to a low emissions path.”

Leading by example

Earlier this year Park set Seoul the target of ‘eliminating a nuclear power plant’ through an ambitious energy efficiency and renewables drive.

Seoul currently generates just 2.8% of its own power and will seek to boost this number to 20% by 2020 through the use of small hydropower scheme, solar and hydrogen fuel cells.

It is targeting a greenhouse gas reduction equivalent to 7.3m tonnes of CO2 and an energy reduction comparable to the output of a nuclear power station.

In June 40 of the world’s most populous cities launched a programme to measure, report and verify their carbon emissions.

The deal – the first of its kind involving so many cities – included Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Paris, Portland and Taipei. It was backed by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership group.

And in November the carbonn Cities Climate Registry, launched at the Cancun UN climate talks in 2010, revealed that 232 cities from 25 countries, controlling a community GHG emissions of around 1.5 GtCO2e annually, reported 561 energy and climate commitments, together with 577 GHG inventories and 2092 mitigation, adaptation actions and action plans.

RTCC VIDEO: ICLEI President and former Vancouver deputy Mayor David Cadman explains why a new emission reporting regime based on cities could be effective

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