Cities step up to tackle global warming

As some world leaders question whether the world is facing a climate emergency, more than a dozen cities are stepping up to tackle global warming and sustainable development and will next week pledge to report their progress to the United Nations.

Sixteen cities will commit to implementing global goals to end poverty, inequality and other challenges by 2030 during the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations. They will sign a voluntary declaration drafted by New York City.

The set of 17 sustainable development goals, unanimously approved by the 193 U.N. Member nations in 2015, is a wide-ranging “to-do” list tackling such issues as conflict, hunger, land degradation, gender equality and climate change.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has described global warming as a hoax, dealt a blow to U.N.-led efforts to fight climate change when he pulled the United States from the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has also expressed doubts as to whether climate change is man-made and is ambivalent about the Paris accord, though he walked back a campaign pledge to quit the pact.

Under the sustainable development goals, countries are encouraged to report annually to the United Nations on their progress. In 2018, New York became the first city to do so, submitting what it called a voluntary local review.

New York city, Helsinki, Buenos Aires and 13 other cities will be the first to sign a declaration next week, in which cities pledge “to use the framework of the SDGS  to do their part to help end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and work to prevent the harmful effects of climate change by 2030.”