Mayors from across Europe are calling for stronger cooperation with cities in the fight against climate change. “We can only succeed when cities are on board, when city leaders have a seat at the table where decisions are made,” said Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence and President of Eurocities.
At the end of the Annual Conference of Eurocities in Leipzig, Nardella presented a message in a bottle that will be sent to the Climate Summit COP26 in Glasgow: “With this message in a bottle, we need world leaders not only to listen but to act. So here, I send an S.O.S. to the world leaders in Glasgow: we must work together to fight climate change. We need a new pact. And we need it now. Work with cities! Involve us, collaborate with us – let’s fight together! We, the cities, are ready. Are you?”
Cities as climate leaders
Many cities have more ambitious climate targets than national governments and the EU, Nardella said. “My city, Florence, will be climate neutral by 2040 at the latest, 10 years before the current EU target. And an increasing number of cities have that ambition – some even aiming for 2030.”
But cities “cannot do it alone,” Nardella said. “Cities need political decisions at national and European level that support our work. We also need resources.” Nardella urged national governments in the EU to involve cities in the design and the implementation of the national recovery plans which are financed by the EU recovery fund of €750 billion.
More than 300 city leaders from around a hundred cities met from 3 – 5 November in Leipzig to discuss how to achieve a sustainable recovery after the pandemic. The title of the conference: “The power of cities – transforming society”. Eurocities represents more than 200 larger cities from 38 European countries.
Inspired by a pop song
Dario Nardella said he got inspired by the the song ‘Message in a Bottle’ from The Police:
“More than 40 years ago, when the term ‘climate change’ was hardly known, the band The Police released the song ‘Message in a Bottle’, whose refrain is ‘I’ll send an S.O.S. to the world’. Now climate change is a topic not just among politicians, but in every social forum, every school and every household. Now, with greater urgency than ever, we need a response to that S.O.S.
The Police song was a number one hit, listened to by people all over the world. With this message in a bottle, we need world leaders not only to listen but to act.
So here, I send an S.O.S. to the world leaders in Glasgow: we must work together to fight climate change. We need a new pact. And we need it now.
We, the cities, are ready. Are you?”
You can read the full statement of Dario Nardella here.