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The relevance of cities to the UN Climate Change Conference in Poland
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Published 27 November 2008 by ICLEI (original article)

As the closest government level to citizens, municipal leaders can accelerate behavioural change within their community and can drive and implement effective actions. Local governments will offer national governments their partnership to limit global warming when nations gather at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland on 1-12 December 2008 to negotiate a new global climate agreement.

Published 27 November 2008 by ICLEI, http://www.iclei.org/

For more information on the Poznan conference, see www.iclei.org/poznan2008. For more on ICLEI's Local Government Climate Roadmap, see www.iclei.org/climate-roadmap.
There is also a draft Conference of the Parties agreement.

Freiburg, Germany, 27 November 2008 - Local governments will offer national governments their partnership to limit global warming when nations gather at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland on 1-12 December 2008 to negotiate a new global climate agreement. Municipal representatives will present their message at the Local Government Climate Sessions from 9 to 11 December in Poznan, Poland.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spoke for local governments at the 2007 UN Climate Conference in Bali: "The world's cities, which account for 80% of humanity's production of greenhouse gases, recognise that inaction is not an option. Mayors of the world's cities are the great pragmatists on the world's stage. Results, not ideology, are what matter to us".

Since 2007, cities have mirrored the UN Climate Roadmap in a process called the "Local Government Climate Roadmap". They advocate for a comprehensive post-2012 climate agreement, which will determine the next phase of what is currently the Kyoto Protocol.

Cities and local governments worldwide have a long track of voluntary local climate action. Nations should recognise and build upon these local contributions via strategic partnerships on climate with their local governments. Such national-local climate partnerships should include empowerment, capacities, resources and easier access to funding, as well as enabling regulations and framework conditions for the local level.

"National governments can get substantial support in reaching their GHG reduction targets if they empower municipalities to act on climate. They are well advised to recognise local action in their national climate plans", said ICLEI Secretary General Konrad Otto-Zimmermann.
Local governments are committed to contribute their part: mayors around the world sign the World Mayors and Local Government Climate Agreement committing themselves to a reduction of greenhouse gas emis-sions by 60% from 1990 levels and by 80% from 1990 levels in industrialized countries.

National environment ministers heard from the Chair of the World Mayors Council of Climate Change in 2007: "It is quite simple - without cities and local governments, national governments will not be able to reach their targets and meet their commitments" said Bärbel Dieckmann, Mayor of Bonn (Germany).

As the closest government level to citizens, municipal leaders can accelerate behavioural change within their community and can drive and implement effective actions.

Cities are home to 50% of the world's population, where up to 80% of all energy is consumed. Cities are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, particularly the fast growing cities in developing countries.

Media inquiries: Ciara Leonard, information.services@iclei.org

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