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Cities will be key to a low carbon, resilient global economy able to address and adapt to climate change. Many are emerging as leaders cutting emissions and greening infrastructure. Photo ©Pline

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President Barack Obama on Monday urged US cities to commit to climate action ahead of the UN climate change agreement in Paris in December, and set the goal of at least 100 US cities joining the Compact of Mayors by the end of November.   

The Compact of Mayors was launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the UN Climate Summit last year as a global coalition of mayors and city officials that have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate change.

In a statement reacting to the White House announcement, UN special envoy for cities and climate change Mike Bloomberg said:

Cities account for about 70 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, so any plan to attack climate change must recognize their central role in the battle (…) Today's call to action by the White House will complement the Environmental Protection Agency's important new regulations and bolster the US's standing at the UN climate summit in December.

In a fact sheet, the White House pointed out that many US cities are taking significant steps to reduce emissions, but the only way to measure progress is through a transparent and consistent system that provides accountability, as established by the Compact of Mayors.

The Compact of Mayors presently comprises 107 major cities, from Johannesburg in South Africa to Seoul in South Korea.

In the United States, 19 cities have already signed onto the Compact, and 15 more announced they would do so on Monday, including New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago.

See the global distribution of Compact cities (source Compact of Mayors web site):

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Image at top of article: Roman Boed, Flickr

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