A delegation consisting of mayors of Australia’s largest cities will join leaders from around the world at the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen.
Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, and Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle, will attend the Climate Change Summit for Mayors, which will run parallel to the COP15 summit.
Mayors from more than 55 cities around the world will gather for the summit including London, Los Angeles, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Toronto and Buenos Aires.
Cr Moore said she will present “convincing evidence” that if local and federal levels of government work collaboratively they can meet national targets on carbon emissions reduction.
A recent report commissioned by the City of Sydney found that Australian cities could collectively halve their greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years by implementing a targeted strategy similar to the Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan.
Climate change consultancy company Kinesis says actions outlined in the City of Sydney’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy have the potential to cut emissions by 540 million tonnes between 2010 and 2030.
The reduction is the equivalent of Australia emitting zero carbon for a year.
“If all the cities in Australia did what we’re doing for Sustainable Sydney 2030, it would meet 40 per cent of the Government’s current target,” Cr Moore said.
“Imagine if the metropolitan area was doing what we’re doing.”
Cr Moore said that given the Australian senate’s rejection of an emission trading scheme, local government stood as the most viable partner in Australia’s response to climate change.
“Local government is really at the forefront of addressing reduction of emissions and federal and state government haven’t really cottoned on to that,” she said.
Cr Moore has been invited by the Danish Board of Technology to formally present findings of the World Wide Views on Global Warming survey at the Copenhagen summit.
The project involved randomly selected citizens from 38 countries, including 105 Australians. Local polling was conducted by the University of Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures.
According to the results, 95 per cent of Australian respondents and 90 per cent of world citizens say they are concerned about climate change.
Of the Australian respondents, 89 per cent want greenhouse gas emission reduction targets within or above the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommended range of 25 to 40 per cent cuts by 2020, well ahead of the Federal Government’s commitment of a 5 to 25 per cent reduction.
“The community wants governments to act responsibly,” Cr Moore said.
“It’s quite inspiring what local government and cities are doing in Australia and yet federal and state governments are just way behind local government leaders, way behind business and way behind the community.”
Melbourne and Sydney are signatories to the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, which signed an agreement in 2005 to make greater efforts to tackle climate change.
The Climate Change Summit for Mayors will run from December 14-17.
Video: Raise Your Voice The message Lord Mayor Clover Moore will take to Copenhagen.