COP21: Mega-city mayors gather to find climate change solutions



Around 40 global city mayors met at Paris City Hall to discuss green solutions that could slash energy consumption and the carbon footprints of the world’s metropolises.

The city of Paris showcased a system that pipes water from the Seine river to cool five million square metres of buildings, which curbs carbon emissions from air conditioning. Boris Johnson said London should follow suit and use water from the Thames with similar technology.

The global mayors summit, timed to coincide with Paris COP21, was chaired by Rio mayor Eduardo Paes and brought leaders together to exchange ideas and accelerate change.

Mayors discussed their most successful initiatives as well the challenges they face. Gregor Robertson of Vancouver promoted the concept of active transport –walking and cycling, while Copenhagen mayor Frank Jensen told the summit that 99 per cent of homes in the Danish capital are warmed by a central district heating system.

London mayor Boris Johnson explained that successes in London had seen a 14 per cent reduction in carbon emissions over the last seven years despite a 1 million population increase.

He said: “It’s vitally important that world cities unite and work together to mitigate climate change.

“London’s thriving green economy is worth over £30 billion and we are a leading centre of innovation; with the entrepreneurs, technical ability, academia and engineering to drive the transition to a low carbon economy.

“We’ve proven in the capital that unprecedented population increases are no barrier to reducing carbon emissions and I look forward to discussions with my fellow mayors that help deliver a positive environmental impact.”

Sydney mayor Clover Moore said the city had cut emissions by 40 per cent thanks to low-energy lighting, while Stockholm’s Karin Wanngård told delegates that the Swedish capital would be fossil fuel-free by 2040.


Photo credit:  Moyan Brenn from Flickr