- For the first time, a local climate action summit will take place at the United Nations’ annual global climate meeting, COP28, according to a Tuesday announcement. The meeting will take place in Dubai for a week and a half beginning on Nov. 30.
- The two-day local climate action summit aims to bring together hundreds of local leaders — including mayors, governors, businesses and non-government organizations — to discuss with national leaders four main themes: local climate finance, fast-tracking the local energy transition, strengthening local resilience and adaptation, and integrating local action into national and international climate policy and goals.
- “For the world to tackle climate change effectively, mayors and governors need a bigger seat at the table,” said Michael Bloomberg, the UN’s special envoy on climate ambition and solutions, in a statement. He also founded Bloomberg Philanthropies, which will host the COP28 Local Climate Action Summit.
The first COP, or Conference of the Parties, took place in Berlin in 1995, bringing together representatives from UN member states to assess and plan for climate action. Decisions can only be made by consensus, with countries such as the U.S. and Russia having the same voting rights as smaller, less powerful nations. A key decision that leaders made at last year’s COP27 was an agreement that wealthier countries will provide “loss and damage” funding for vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters.
But local leaders haven’t previously been formally integrated into the COP program and processes before this year. Bloomberg and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo hosted a summit for local leaders in 2015, but it took place alongside COP rather than as part of it.
Many cities are moving faster to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than their national governments, a Bloomberg Philanthropies news release said. And UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement that “cities are where the climate battle will largely be won or lost.”
The COP28 Local Climate Action Summit will be co-chaired by global leaders such as the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, and his counterpart from China, Xie Zhenhua. Local co-chairs will be announced soon, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies.
City networks and partner organizations supporting the local climate action summit include C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Climate Mayors, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, among others.