Mayor Mitchell Landrieu of New Orleans at the meeting in the Vatican could be pleased to hear what other mayors were doing to make cities more resilient and “get a practical guide on climate change.” When Hurricane Katrina hit 10 years ago, he said, his city became “the canary in the coal mine” showing the world how extreme weather associated with climate change can devastate a major city.
Mayor Tony Chammany of Kochi, India said that mitigating climate change and curbing poverty and exploitation cost money and demand investments. Today’s financial crisis is hindering greater efforts. for that reason the greater worldpowers should find solutions to get a better balance between rich and poor and getting their priorities right.
Governments must make the environment and social problems a top priority in public spending.
“holds individuals accountable for the fate of our planet, but it rightly asks the most of governments.”
People are being
“pushed by the highest moral authority to take the next step, no matter how challenging it appears to be,”
California Gov Jerry Brown said in his speech that there is “fierce opposition and blind inertia” to moving away from dependence on petroleum and coal. And, he said,
“that opposition is well financed — hundreds of millions of dollars are going into propaganda, to falsifying the scientific record, bamboozling people of every country.”
Mayor Kagiso Thutlwe of Gaborone, Botswana, told CNS that he disagrees with claims that radically reducing greenhouse gas emissions will hurt development.
“There was a period when our forefathers didn’t know anything about development,”
he said. That changed when outside assistance brought in modern methods
“and this development is now making us be engaged with the world”
and getting his people access to new technologies, he said.
In fact, Thutlwe said he sees public-private partnerships as being key to growing a more “green” development, for example by partnering with solar-panel companies to exploit his country’s abundance of sunshine and get needed electricity to more people.
“People aren’t stubborn. They are trying to make a living,” she said. “They say, ‘If I need fuel, don’t tell me not to cut down my trees because that’s the only way I am going to be able to cook my food.’”
Communities will need to provide the alternatives if any of the environmental awareness campaigns are going to work, she said.
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