There is nothing more important than getting a strong agreement on climate in Paris at the end of the month - and that's why I'm going to be there.
Some Councillors at today's City of Sydney Environment Committee meeting, which endorsed my attendance at the Paris climate conference (COP21), raised questions about its usefulness and of my attendance at it. After the tragic events in Paris over the weekend, our decision to attend is more real than ever.
So I wanted to share with you why I think COP21 and Sydney's participation in it are important.
- There is no greater threat to the long-term future of Sydney than global warming.
- Cities have a crucial role to play in addressing global warming - over half the world's population live in cities (even more in Australia) despite covering just 2% of the Earth's surface, and cities generate 75-80% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
- COP21 will give heightened prominence to sub-national actors, like cities, in the negotiations.
- Promoting the action already taken by cities is a key strategy being used to influence the national leaders involved in the conference.
- It is important that Sydney stands alongside other cities - including Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Milan, Philadelphia, Portland, Rio de Janeiro, Rotterdam, Seoul, Shenzhen, Stockholm, Toronto and Vancouver - our work shows that more ambitious targets are possible and compatible with strong economic growth.
- I've been invited to speak about our work in Sydney by a number of organisations including the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, 100 Resilient Cities and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.
- This a significant opportunity to promote the City's successes in taking action against climate change and to reinforce Sydney's status as Australia's global city.
With temperature records around the world breaking ever more frequently, we need to stop increasing the levels of carbon in the atmosphere that are driving climate change. I am determined that the City of Sydney will continue to take serious action to reduce our contribution to climate change, and to advocate on the domestic and international stage for strong targets.
The day before I fly out to Paris, I'll be at the People's Climate March Australia - 29 November at 1pm in the Domain - join me and send a message to Prime Minister Turnbull and the Australian delegation that we need far stronger emissions reduction targets in Paris.