Cities are key to global energy and climate challenges, Ban tells US mayors

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the 79th Annual United States Conference of Mayors in Baltimore, Maryland

20 June 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on United States mayors to help in the worldwide fight against climate change and other energy challenges.

Speaking to a meeting of the US Conference of Mayors in Baltimore yesterday, Mr. Ban said: “The world needs the mayors of the United States to do their part to address our energy and climate change challenges.”

Mr. Ban told the representatives of some 1,200 American cities with a population exceeding 30,000: “Your efforts can have an outsize impact.”

“You know the potential catastrophe that lies in store if present trends continue: extreme weather, market disruptions, inundated coastlines,” he said. “You also know the role of cities in climate change – for good and ill alike.”

Cities consume more than two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for roughly the same percentage of global carbon dioxide emissions, he said.

Lauding American cities for “already making great advances towards energy efficiency in transit, infrastructure and street lights” and producing, clean, renewable energy, he said: “The smart money is on smart cities – resilient, energy efficient, poised to profit from new, clean, green innovations that will redefine the urban landscape of 21st century.”

“You have taken this challenge to heart, and you are finding it good for job creation and good for the health and happiness of your citizens,” he said. “The upgrades and efforts you are making save money and create well-paying local jobs. And they revitalize the economies of the cities where they are implemented.”

These initiatives forge new industries and claim market share,” he said. “I am sure that your cities have what it takes to join this movement, and stay out front instead of having to play catch-up.”

“For me the message is clear: the road to future peace and progress runs through the world’s cities and towns,” he said.

News Tracker: past stories on this issue

UN climate change chief calls for political leadership on key issues

Related Stories

In-depth Interviews