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World mayors call for prompt action to fight climate change

The world’s largest network of municipalities on Friday adopted an action plan aimed at taking prompt measures against climate change at a congress held in Seoul.

The Seoul Action Plan was released by Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon to gather more global support at the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives World Congress.

The plan, a follow-up to the Seoul Declaration adopted a day before, urged tight cooperation between cities through three major global municipality networks ― ICLEI, United Cities and Local Government and C40 Cities-Climate Leadership Group ― to better tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

Cities also vowed to better implement the Compact of Mayors proclaimed at the United Nations Climate Summit in September last year. The compact addresses cities’ pledges to raise their commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 454 megatons by 2020.

At the forum, five cities ― Paris and Nantes of France, Montreal of Canada, Johannesburg of South Africa and San Rafael of Argentina ― presented their green projects and vowed to strengthen their anti-carbon drives.

The Seoul Action Plan and the Seoul Declaration will be delivered to the U.N. Climate Change Conference, or COP 21, which will be held in December in Paris.

Countries are likely to declare a new landmark agreement on post-2020 emissions cut targets at the Paris talks. The COP 21 aims at limiting the global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, which critics consider as the threshold for climate change.

After the forum, the host city held an event dubbed “Seoul on Stage” to promote its three flagship green projects including the “One Less Nuclear Power Plant,” a scheme pushed to reduce energy consumption by as much as one nuclear power plant’s capacity by developing renewable energy.

Seoul City pledged earlier this week to cut emissions by 40 percent by 2030 under its statement “Promise of Seoul.”

In the meantime, Seoul City won the Global Earth Hour Capital Award of the Earth Hour Challenge Awards for its efforts in seeking sustainability-focused projects to make a greener city, officials said. Seoul City competed with 162 other municipalities.

The EHCC Award, run by World Wide Fund for Nature in collaboration with ICLEI, promotes low-carbon cities and efficient use of renewable energy.

Seoul City has hosted the five-day congress from Wednesday under the theme of “Sustainable Solutions for an Urban Future” with some 240 city representatives and 250 officials from international bodies. The five-day ICLEI World Congress ends Saturday.

By Lee Hyun-jeong (
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Korea Herald daum