Year 3, Month 7, Day 1: The Old Gray Mayor Just Ain’t What He Used To Be

Michael Bloomberg wants you to know that he’s on the case:

Again and again, Bloomberg stressed the contrast between the paralysis of national governments and the agility of municipal authorities, which he said were up to meeting the social and environmental challenges of the 21st century.

“We don’t have the luxury of just sitting back and talking about the problems because on a whole range of critical action, the buck stops at city hall,’’ said Bloomberg, adding that cities are key players in the fight against global warming because about 75 percent of global emissions take place within city limits.

“We aren’t arguing with each other over reduction targets, we’re making progress individually and collectively to improve our cities and the planet,’’ he told journalists on a conference call ahead of Tuesday’s event. He added that two-thirds of the C40 initiatives to combat climate change were financed solely out of municipal budgets, with no funds from national governments.

Some of the projects already under way include Paris’ rental bike and electric car programs, Bogota’s electric taxis, Los Angeles’ use of more efficient bulbs LED in its street lights, and the improved solid waste collection initiatives by New Delhi, Lagos and Mexico City.

Good for them. How about some large-scale support? Sent June 20:

Given that well over three-quarters of Americans (and over half the world’s population) live in cities, sustainable urban design is an idea whose time has clearly come. The fight against climate change requires us to feed and shelter the world’s steadily-increasing population while simultaneously significantly reducing greenhouse emissions — an impossible task without the economies of scale and increased efficiency cities provide.

But a climate-changed world poses enormous challenges to urban planners. Extreme weather will stress infrastructure to the breaking point, our already-vulnerable agricultural systems will be hard-pressed to feed millions of people, and unlimited fresh water is no longer something any of us can take for granted.

Cities around the world will play a crucial role in our struggle against the burgeoning greenhouse effect — but they must be supported with robust environmental and energy policy initiatives at all levels of governance from local to international.

Warren Senders

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