No return to ‘business as usual’, say world’s city mayors

Clean, green and sustainable need to be urban watchwords from now, says C40
Air Quality & Weather Systems / May 15, 2020
By Adam Hill
ID 112241374 © Jamesteohart | Dreamstime.com
C40: looking to a brighter urban future (© Jamesteohart | Dreamstime.com)

Mayors from many international cities have warned that release from the coronavirus lockdown “should not be a return to ‘business as usual’ - because that is a world on track for 3°C or more of over-heating”.

The C40 group of cities has released a statement of principles to shape the post-Covid-19 world, pledging “to build a better, more sustainable and fairer society out of the recovery”.

As cities all over the world have introduced measures to encourage walking and cycling, C40’s Global Mayors Covid-19 Recovery Task Force had its first virtual meetings, looking at both the virus and the climate change crisis.

The task force will establish a common framework that all members can use to create a ‘new normal’ for city economies.

It will also "agree upon concrete measures they can put in place for recovery; how to communicate about the climate crisis in a post-Covid-19 world; and how can they influence stimulus packages and interventions to support the necessary transition to a more sustainable, low-carbon, inclusive and healthier economy for people and the planet". 

Among its principles are the idea that the harm caused by the pandemic has not been 'equitable', but has disproportionately affected the poor, and "profoundly impacted the world’s cities" while exposing a lack of preparedness despite lessons learned from recent public health crises such as Sars and Ebola.

"This is, in part, a consequence of the undermining of international mechanisms and institutions which were built to bring peace and prosperity to all," C40 says in a statement. "It is, in part, a consequence of ignoring science-based knowledge."

C40 includes the mayors of cities including Athens, Bogotá, London, Los Angeles and New York.

Michael Bloomberg, C40 board president and former mayor of New York, said: “This task force is committed to helping city leaders as they work on economic recovery in ways that lead us forward into the future, not back into the past. The principles we’ve outlined will guide our efforts to develop a new normal – one that is greener, healthier, and more prosperous for everyone.”

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