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Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that Chicago will host the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy’s North American Climate Summit and the 2017 C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards on December 4-5. The Summit will bring together municipal leaders from across the United States, Canada and Mexico to articulate commitments to the Paris Agreement while the Awards will recognize the world’s most innovative and impactful efforts by mayors to tackle climate change. Mayor Emanuel will be joined by Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo; Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre; Mayor of Austin, Steve Adler; Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed and other Mayors from around the world for the 2-day event.
“By partnering with the Global Covenant of Mayors and C40, Chicago is showcasing to the world the impact that cities can have on climate change,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Today’s report on our climate emissions reductions is yet another proof point that protecting the environment and growing jobs go hand in hand. I am looking forward to hosting Mayors from the country, the continent, and the world to find new ways to improve our environment while bettering our communities.”
Mayors gathered for the Summit will make pronouncements committing themselves and their cities to moving forward with significant emissions reductions regardless of action taken by their respective federal governments. In addition, mayors will announce city-specific climate programs and policies and commit to working through existing organizations, such as Climate Mayors, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and ICLEI to develop partnerships with other cities. These commitments will be clustered around central ideas and themes to better aggregate impact and provide guidance for Mayors who are looking to peers for new ideas.
“Thanks to the efforts of Mayor Emanuel, Chicago is helping to lead the way in the fight against climate change. I am delighted that the winners of the C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards 2017 will be announced in the great city of Chicago," said Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40, Anne Hidalgo. “The urgency of the climate challenge facing the world means that we need to be constantly sharing and replicating the best ideas in how cities can shape the future. Chicago’s North American Climate Summit and the C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards 2017 will be critical events in our collective effort to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement."
The fifth-annual C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards will be announced in Chicago during the Summit. The awards will celebrate the most ambitious and innovative efforts by mayors of the world’s great cities to tackle climate change, and will focus on five key categories: building energy efficiency & clean energy; sustainable transportation; reducing waste; climate action plans, and adaptation plans & programs. Finalists include twenty-five projects from twenty-two cities, and include Retrofit Chicago. Retrofit Chicago encompasses the city’s efforts to reduce energy use in public buildings, private buildings, and municipal operations.
Since the Trump administration’s announcement to pull out of the Paris Agreements, cities across the United States and around of the world have shown their commitment to creating a truly sustainable future for their residents. More than 377 Mayors from around the country have committed to the Paris Agreement as part of the Mayors National Climate Agenda, or Climate Mayors. This network of U.S. mayors — representing over 67 million Americans in red states and blue states — work together to strengthen local efforts for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting efforts for binding federal and global-level policy making. Hundreds of US cities, universities, and businesses have declared “We Are Still In” regarding pursuing ambitious climate goals, and ensuring that the US remains a global leader in reducing emissions. This group is now working on the creation of “America’s Pledge,” an unprecedented effort to aggregate carbon reductions by cities, regions and businesses to ensure that the US achieves its Paris Agreement pledge.
"Chicago is a leading example of the growing impact cities are having on combatting climate change and reducing carbon emissions," said Christiana Figueres, vice-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors. "This Summit will provide an opportunity for mayors to continue acting on the political will demonstrated in Paris, showing that local action is being taken to fulfill commitments. The Global Covenant looks forward to discussing how our cities and regions are learning from and supporting one another in the global fight against climate change.”
Chaired by UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg, Vice President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič, and former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiana Figueres, the Global Covenant of Mayors is an international alliance of more than 7,400 cities and local governments, all of whom have committed to meet or exceed the planned contributions of their respective national governments to the meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Along with the Global Covenant of Mayors, the Joyce Foundation and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation have agreed to serve as initial supporters of the Summit.
Mayor Emanuel also announced today that Chicago has reduced its carbon emissions by eleven percent from 2005 to 2015, bringing the city to forty percent of the way to meeting its Paris Climate Agreement goals. The Mayor's June 7 Executive Order established the goal of reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions to levels equivalent to or greater 26-28 percent reduction from 2005 levels to 2025, the original commitment made by the Obama Administration as part of the United States’ commitment to the Paris Accord. The reduction in greenhouse gases over the past decade came while the number of jobs within the city increased by seven percent and is equivalent to shutting down a coal power plant for fourteen months.
Today’s announcements build on Mayor Emanuel’s strong environmental track record since 2011. Mayor Emanuel has worked with cities around the country to post research from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Website after the Trump administration unceremoniously removed it from the federal government’s websites on April 29. The research can be found on the City of Chicago’s “Climate Change is Real website, www.cityofchicago.org/climatechangeisreal.
In April, the Mayor announced that by 2025 all of Chicago’s public buildings will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. That transition means that eight percent of the city-wide electricity load or 1.8 billion kilowatt hours will come from clean and renewable sources. This follows the 2013 commitment that the City made to eliminating coal from its electricity supply.
Earlier this year, the City of Chicago was awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2017 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award. The award is given annually to honor organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency and recognized the Retrofit Chicago Energy Challenge and its 76 member buildings covering 51.3 million square feet-all of which have committed to reducing their energy use by 20 percent. The award also recognized the four years of successful implementation of the City’s Energy Benchmarking Ordinance which has reduced energy use by four percent in buildings covered by the ordinance.