Climate change is happening at home and around the world. Seoul is doing its part by embracing clean energy and climate solutions and engaging its citizens in climate actions. When it comes to fighting climate change, cities and local leaders are best positioned to lead that charge. Local leaders from coastal to landlocked communities are working to combat the rising impacts of a changing climate through transitioning themselves to low-carbon economies by reducing local greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing resilience. But in order to achieve these goals, accountability is the key. We must have the tools to track our progress transparently in order to turn climate actions into collective and measurable results.
This month the inaugural Board meeting of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, a coalition of over 7,400 cities spanning more than 120 countries, will be held in Brussels. As the Board members, mayors who are working together to respond to climate change with similar dreams will meet to share their thoughts and ideas. The Global Covenant of Mayors will provide a platform for cities to commit to, track and monitor progress on climate action. And the best part, it’s totally transparent with all the data made publicly available.
As part of our commitment to the Global Covenant of Mayors, Seoul is leading climate actions by lowering the greenhouse gas emissions and finding local solutions to make a sustainable future.
From city hall to the world stage, Seoul is leading the combat against climate change.
The city of Seoul decided that the fundamental way to address climate change is to save energy, and that’s why we have initiated ‘One Less Nuclear Power Plant’ in 2012. In June 2014, 6 months ahead of schedule, Seoul fulfilled its goal and reduced its energy consumption by 2 million TOE. This amount is equivalent to that of electricity produced by average one nuclear power plant in Korea, and it is as effective as reducing 4.5 million tons of CO2. Now, we are in the second phase of One Less Nuclear Power Plant project with an aim of 4 million TOE energy savings by 2020.
The Paris Agreement, which entered into full force last year, signified a broad commitment from global leaders to join local communities and cities together in tackling the effects of changing climate. But after the agreement, actions should come, and those actions are happening from the ground up in Seoul and in cities around the world led by other mayors.
As we look towards the next major global climate meetings in 2018, the actions taken at the city-level can have major impacts on a global scale. Transforming public transportation into green vehicles, requiring green building certificates in new constructions, and creating 860km of bike-only lanes across the whole city are supporting initiatives that make a resilient community and strong economy, and eventually actively contributing to making Seoul a green city.
Great work is being done around the world, but it is clear that the need for city climate diplomacy is greater now than ever before. It is very encouraging to see the local initiatives and best practices being implemented and shared by cities in every corner of our globe. But while cities have made great strides, there’s more that we can do. More Mayors must take immediate actions to continue to advance our global progress. That’s as the mayor of Seoul I am calling on fellow local leaders to commit to the Global Covenant of Mayors to join thousands of communities leading the fight against climate change.
Every local leader can be an agent of change. Every citizen has a voice that can rally our leaders together to join a global cause.
Local leaders deserve a seat at the global table when it comes to the future of our communities and our planet. For that reason, I am asking all local leaders, wherever they may be, commit to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. The Global Covenant is the best way to demonstrate the power and strength of local impact as we turn the agreement into actions and actions into results.
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