In the latest issue of Energy Cities INFO magazine, the mayors of Figueres (Spain), Växjö (Sweden) and Milton Keynes (UK) express their expectations as regards the UN Climate Summit (COP21) to be held in Paris next December.
Marta Felip, Mayor of Figueres, Spain
“In my opinion, COP21 negotiators have to be aware of two conditions necessary to the energy transition. Firstly, all actors need to fully understand the energy issue. While many policy-makers and citizens have already taken the plunge and are working on a new energy model, the message has yet to reach many more people! In order to trigger transformative action, it is essential to promote greater policy awareness by the general public about the energy transition.
Secondly, we need resources that facilitate the work. In our city, through the IMAGINE project, we have designed an energy vision and a roadmap clearly shaping our future energy model. To implement local energy policies, funding is needed. In addition, Spanish energy legislation has to be radically changed if cities want to become real energy actors with the ability to produce green energy using local renewable resources. Inspiration for that comes through cross-border cooperation and international exchanges…”
Councillor Peter Marland, Leader of the Council, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
“It has been over 20 years since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. At that time I was an 11-year-old child and recall the urgency felt in the need to tackle climate change. In the years since that historic event, the world has changed dramatically, but the need for action remains stronger than ever. As a “Smart City” and the fastest growing city in the UK, Milton Keynes’ involvement in international collaboration projects such as the Covenant of Mayors and IMAGINE 2050 show how local areas can work together on global issues and bring about documented, evidenced change.
The time to act is now. Strong, collaborative leadership at Paris 2015 can restore faith in global governance. Showing the ability to co-operate for the greater good would also highlight that, despite differences and challenges, change is possible.”
Bo Frank, Mayor of Växjö, Sweden
“For decades we have seen that if global emissions of greenhouse gases are to be reduced, it is the mayors who must act. While nations are struggling to agree on the distribution of emission reductions between each other, it is the mayors who take action and show real results.
Mayors must take personal responsibility for ensuring a transition from fossil energy to renewable energy in their own communities, cooperating with other local actors. That is why I have launched the “Växjö Declaration” during our “Earth Week” in March, where Växjö is pressing for national policies to support local energy and climate work.
However, we still depend on the international community to complete our energy transition. A strong binding global agreement is needed in order to support local authorities, the nations and ultimately the world, in making the energy transition.”
© photo Luciano Mortula – Shutterstock.com