On October 9-11, Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, hosted the C40 Mayors Summit. The main message is clear: addressing the climate crisis necessarily depends on political will. Over 2,000 people, including mayors, advisors, secretaries, NGOs, academia, and businesspersons gathered together to show that local governments should be protagonists in this process. This is because the urban centers are the locations where the impacts of climate change will be most felt, precisely due to their concentration of the largest part of the global population and the aggravation of already existing problems.
More than this, these effects are mainly socioeconomic, because they aggravate inequalities and affect the neediest populations. All the speeches, including those by well-known names on the subject, such as Al Gore and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (a member of the US Congress), were unanimous in asserting that municipal policies must be innovative, independent of the positioning of the national governments. More than this, there is one certainty: the technological and political solutions already exist.
Some subjects and sectors were highlighted at the Summit, such as energy. In New York, for example, there are solar energy programs in schools, car parks, and reservoirs, as well as investments in transmission lines, having as a criterion the connection with the generation of renewable energy. Back in Copenhagen, there is the ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2025, with investment in public and active transport and the generation of renewable energy, with the inauguration in October of a Thermal Power Plant driven by solid urban waste.
Transport and air quality were also discussed in two themed tables, one of them moderated by the Brazilian, Clarisse Linke, the director of ITDP Brasil. In it, the mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, mentioned some projects that seek to change travel behavior in cities – including multifunctional buildings that integrate schools and basic public services. The second table highlighted the presentation of a project led by Google in partnership with the University of Copenhagen, which installed air quality sensors in the cars that update Google Street View. It is possible, in this way, to produce annual statistics of corridors with the highest intensity of pollutants.
iCS was represented by Kamyla Borges, the coordinator of the Kigali project, and Marcel Martin, the coordinator of the Transport Portfolio. According to them, another important point drew attention: the difference of the speeches by the female mayors, who spoke as caregivers, and by the male mayors, who positioned themselves as managers. The female mayor of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell, provided details of an inclusive and participative program of adaptation to climate change, while the female mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, emphasized that the cities had been governed for many years by men, who have shaped them according to their own demands – and, now, this needs to change, with people who govern for everybody.
The Brazilian cities represented were Salvador, with its mayor ACM Neto, São Paulo, with the Secretary of International Relations, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte, with the Municipal Secretary of Urban Policy and the Advisor of International Relations, respectively.