FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2011
MAYOR BLOOMBERG HIGHLIGHTS URGENT NEED FOR CITIES TO TAKE ACTION TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE AT C40 OPENING CEREMONY
The following is the text of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s remarks as prepared for delivery today at Parque Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“Thank you – obrigado – Gilberto. What a wonderful welcome you’ve all given us. Brazilian hospitality is famous worldwide. Now we know why. You make us eager to come back for the World Cup in 2014. You’ve already made this stay in São Paulo a memorable one.
“My colleagues and I in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group are looking forward to every minute that we’re in São Paulo and in this dynamic nation of Brazil, that has now taken its rightful place as a world economic and diplomatic leader. And we’re delighted that you’ve chosen this marvelous theater, a work of one of the world’s most gifted and original architects, the incomparable Oscar Niemeyer, as the site of the first formal event of our summit.
“To those who have come here from distant cities: thank you for making this journey. The truth is that, in spite of the miracles of 21st Century communication, when there’s work to do, there often remains no substitute for seeing and meeting one another, face-to-face, even if it does require long international travel. I promise you: you will be glad that you came.
“Over the next several days, we have very important tasks before us. The cities of the C40 Climate Group wield tremendous influence. We account for eight percent of the world’s population, and our people generate 21 percent of the gross domestic product of the nations of the Earth. We are global centers of commerce, communication, and culture. And on this rapidly urbanizing planet, what our cities do, individually and in unison, increasingly sets the agenda for people everywhere.
“That’s especially true in meeting all the ominous challenges arising from global climate change. Our actions – our policies and practices – are pivotally important. Steps that we’ve already taken are making our cities, healthier, more energy-efficient, and more environmentally responsible. Mayor Kassab’s strong leadership has put São Paulo in the front ranks in this worldwide urban sustainability movement. And around the globe, the people of our cities are already reaping the benefits of cleaner air, lower energy costs, and longer and healthier lives.
“Increasingly, the rest of the world is taking notice of – and finding hope in – what we are accomplishing. At the national and international levels, efforts at concerted action to combat climate change have, over and over again, ended in frustration.
“But in our cities – and in other cities around the world – a very different story is being told. We are moving ahead. We are making a difference. We have found ways to reach across cultural and political boundaries to work with one another. Why is that?
“It’s because as the world becomes ever-more urbanized, we, as mayors, see most clearly just how high the stakes of climate change are. We recognize that delay and denial are not viable options. And as the officials most directly responsible, and accountable, for the well-being of more than one-quarter billion people worldwide, we know that we have no choice but to act.
“We also know this: that as much as we have already accomplished – in São Paulo and Sydney, in Los Angeles and Johannesburg, and all our other cities, too – we must do even more, even better, and even faster.
“That’s why we have come to São Paulo. It’s also why news organizations from around the world are watching what we do here. It’s why one of the great citizens of the world, President Bill Clinton, has already strengthened his foundation’s partnership with C40, and why he will join us for tomorrow’s first plenary session.
“It’s why the World Bank, which will be represented at tomorrow’s plenary by its president, Robert Zoellick, has signaled its interest in launching a far-reaching new partnership with us as well. And it’s why major corporations, other global organizations and representatives of cities who aren’t yet part of C40, but who may well join us, are here, too – to observe, and take part in, our summit. We welcome them all.
“And I want to assure them, and all of you – as the pace of urbanization around the world increases dramatically, C40’s response will become just as rapid, and the scope of our work just as global. Over the next several days, we’re going to take a comprehensive and unflinching look at where our organization stands today, and what we must do to make its work even more effective.
“We’re here to learn from one another’s accomplishments and also to be frank with one another about what hasn’t succeeded as we’d like it to and how we can do better. We’re committed to bringing greater rigor and an even stronger sense of urgency to the efforts of the C40 Climate Group, because that’s essential to meeting the grave challenges we face.
“We’ll resume our work in earnest tomorrow morning. But tonight, let’s all enjoy the hospitality of our hosts, and the wonderful performance that they have planned for us now. I want to thank the participants once again for coming to this summit. And I want to thank Mayor Kassab and the people of São Paulo for making us all feel so at home, here in your wonderful city.”
Stu Loeser/Marc La Vorgna (212) 788-2958
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