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STATEMENT: WRI Reacts to Major Announcements on Cities, Forests, and Carbon Pricing at UN Climate Summit

COMPACT OF MAYORS

A coalition of urban networks launched the Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest effort to date for cities to accelerate reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change. They will empower cities—which account for 70 percent of the world’s energy-related emissions—to make public and deepen their commitments to GHG reductions, to reaffirm existing targets, and to report on their progress annually. The Compact draws on a new standardized measurement system, the Global Protocol on Community-scale GHG Emissions, or GPC, which is being developed by WRI, C40 and ICLEI, that is compatible with international reporting practices.

Following is a statement by Pankaj Bhatia, Deputy Director, Climate and Energy Programs, World Resources Institute:

“Cities are at the center of the climate challenge—and they must be at the center of the solution. The Compact of Mayors shows how mayors and city leaders are stepping forward with strong commitments to reduce emissions and to be accountable for their progress. Underlying the Compact is the Global Protocol on Community-scale GHG Emissions, which will establish a new, consistent international standard for cities to measure and manage their emissions. With a comprehensive and transparent approach, cities will send important signals to nations and businesses that they are serious about cutting dangerous carbon emissions.

“New analysis from the New Climate Economy finds that low-carbon, compact cities can save over $3 trillion in investments over the next 15 years. This is part of a growing body of evidence that shows that better designed and more efficient cities can bring multiple economic benefits and improve people’s quality of life.”

NEW YORK DECLARATION ON FORESTS

At the UN Climate Summit, a group of governments, companies, and civil society groups issued the New York Declaration on Forests, an ambitious commitment that will slow the rate of deforestation and improve forest management. Among the highlights, the Declaration proposes cutting the rate of natural forest loss in half by 2020 and eliminating it altogether by 2030; restoring 150 million hectares of degraded landscapes by 2020 and an additional 200 million hectares by 2030; and strengthening forest governance, transparency, and local and indigenous rights.

Following is a statement by Nigel Sizer, Global Director, Forests Program, World Resources Institute:

“This Declaration is the clearest statement to date by world leaders that forests can be a major force in tackling the climate challenge.


“Our research shows that achieving zero net deforestation by 2030 could result in more emissions reductions than removing every car, bus, and plane from the United States, China, and India combined. Similarly, achieving the Declaration’s goal of restoring an area of degraded land greater than the size of India by 2030 would generate $170 billion per year in benefits from watershed protection, improved crop yields, and forest products, not to mention bringing enormous emissions reductions.

“Although the benefits are clear, this Declaration was far from inevitable. It would not have come without the leadership of those countries, NGOs, communities and companies that have made forest stewardship a priority. WRI stands ready to mobilize its teams, especially working on Global Forest Watch and the Global Restoration Initiative, to monitor and measure progress, provide decision-ready input to policymakers, and hold accountable those who are making the pledge.”

PUTTING A PRICE ON CARBON

A growing number of businesses around the world are shifting their strategies to recognize and internalize a price on carbon. Today, the World Bank released a statement signed by over 1,000 companies and 73 countries in support of setting carbon price to shift to cleaner energy technologies. A number of businesses have also stepped forward with renewable energy and other commitments through We Mean Business and other coalitions.

Following is a statement by Jennifer Morgan, Director, Climate and Energy Programs, World Resources Institute:

“Putting an impactful price on carbon is one of the single most important actions that governments and business can do to shift the global trajectory to a strong, low-carbon economy. The large and growing groundswell of support for internalizing the costs of carbon pollution is very encouraging.

"These companies are not just acting to do good, they are acting because it’s the smart choice for their operations and bottom lines. With the right policies in place, these actions will also benefit consumers. Companies now need to engage nationally to put carbon prices in place.

“A growing body of evidence shows that clear and stable long-term policies are essential to drive innovation and technological advancements. Combined with policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, we can achieve economic growth and reduce emissions. Many businesses are now leading the way and demonstrating that the status quo is no longer the smart choice.”

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