By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg aims to use his new role as U.N. envoy on cities and climate change to help “frustrated” U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon motivate world leaders to cut greenhouse gas emissions by showing them progress made by large cities.
Bloomberg, who left office in December after 12 years as New York’s mayor, said he would help Ban drum up support for a U.N. summit on climate change in September by spreading the message that tackling the issue does not have to be controversial or cost a lot of money.
Ban is seeking to re-energize the global climate change debate and boost the role of the United Nations, which diplomats say has been side lined since a 2009 summit in Copenhagen failed to secure a deal on a binding treaty on reducing emissions.
“(Ban) probably is a little bit frustrated that the nations of the world haven’t come together,” Bloomberg told reporters on Tuesday ahead of a meeting in Johannesburg of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, an international group of mayors created in 2005. Bloomberg is now president of the C40 board.
“There’s nothing inconsistent between what we do at the city level and what he would like to get done at a national level,” said Bloomberg, the billionaire philanthropist who was appointed to the U.N. role on Friday.
There are 63 cities – including New York, Rio de Janeiro, London and Sydney – that are part of the C40 group, representing 600 million people. They share ideas to tackle climate change like bus rapid transit systems, environmentally friendly outdoor lighting, and bike sharing schemes.
“Mayors don’t have time to debate politics, they have to deliver results, and mayors around the world increasingly recognize the threats climate change poses to our cities,” Bloomberg said.
“Cities account today for 70 percent of the world’s carbon emission and more than three-quarters of the world’s energy use, and so the action that they take today to confront climate change really will have a global impact,” he said.