Sat, Sep 15, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Global summit rebukes Trump, cheers on initiatives to reduce climate change


A polar bear statue made of car hoods stands in front of the San Francisco Ferry Building during the Global Climate Action Summit on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

Thousands of mayors, climate activists and business leaders from around the world on Thursday descended on San Francisco to cheer on efforts to reduce global warming, even after US President Donald Trump signaled his disdain for the issue.

The Global Climate Action Summit, organized by California Governor Jerry Brown, included a report that 27 major cities around the world have seen emissions decrease over a five-year period and are now at least 10 percent lower than their peak.

The cities include Berlin, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and San Francisco. Together the cities include about 54 million people.

The star-studded conference included a rousing call to action by US actor Harrison Ford, who implored the audience to protect forests, fisheries and other natural wonders.

Former US president Barack Obama, under whose watch the US agreed to the landmark Paris climate accord, made a brief appearance by video.

The goal of the conference was to showcase actions already being taken to prevent climate change and to “inspire deeper commitments” among attendees.

It was unclear what specific actions might be taken before the summit ended yesterday.

“Doing nothing is not an option. Going green is a must. Cities all over the world are on the front lines of climate change,” Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen said, adding that his bicycle-friendly city wants even more bike lanes.

Giuseppe Sala, the mayor of Milan, Italy, talked up plans to reduce waste from food and other sources.

“I’m very, very proud of waste management. I know it is not a sexy issue, but we commit to a future without waste,” he said.

Milan and Copenhagen are among the 27 major cities cited by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, whose board is headed by philanthropist and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In a speech, Bloomberg called the conference a way to broadcast that the US is still committed to the cause.

“Climate change is a global challenge and Washington ought to be leading from the front,” Bloomberg said.

Many people around the world wrongly concluded that the US was “walking away from climate action” when Trump pulled the country out of the Paris climate accord, Bloomberg said, adding that “nothing could be further from the truth.”

The 2015 Paris agreement commits countries to set their own plans for cutting emissions.

Bloomberg and Brown said they calculate the US is within striking distance of the reduction in greenhouse gases it previously promised.

Trump last year announced that he was withdrawing from the climate accord. His administration is also pursuing policies that would boost methane emissions and roll back California’s strict vehicle emissions standards.

In response to a question on Thursday at a news briefing, Brown said that Trump would likely be remembered poorly when it comes to the environment.

“I think he’ll be remembered, on the path he’s now? I don’t know. Liar, criminal, fool,” the governor said.

Outside the conference, hundreds of protesters said Brown could do more in California, and about a dozen briefly interrupted Bloomberg’s speech with chants that natural resources were not for sale.

“America’s a wonderful country. Here we have environmentalists protesting an environmental conference,” Bloomberg said earlier in the day.

Police escorted 10 demonstrators from the meeting hall and briefly detained two protesters outside who were cited for misdemeanors and released.

This story has been viewed 2265 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top