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Women are an 'unstoppable' force for climate action

by Anne Hidalgo | Mayor of Paris
Monday, 26 February 2018 16:26 GMT

People walk on the Champs-Elysees, September 27, 2015 as central Paris goes car-free on a Sunday. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

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* Any views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Today there is perhaps no greater responsibility for powerful women than to lead efforts for a healthier and greener future

As the second C40 Women4Climate conference is about to take place in Mexico City, it is now clear that the women committed to take bold climate action have become an unstoppable movement.

Women, ever more empowered, and ever more fed up with the status quo in many aspects of our lives, are in the vanguard of finding solutions to climate change. 

From the courageous women around the world who are making their voices heard through the #MeToo movement, to the unprecedented number of women now running for and winning public office around the world, powerful women are already shaping the future.

As leaders of many of the world’s largest cities, representing tens of millions of citizens, we know what can be achieved by women committed to changing their communities and their cities for the better. Today there is perhaps no greater responsibility for powerful women than to lead efforts for a healthier and greener future, both locally and globally. 

Many of us are staring down serious climate challenges now. The urgency grows globally, and these are turbulent times for those who care and dare about the environment.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the world’s cities must peak by 2020, to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement. Yet there’s much optimism, too, and dynamic action in cities under the leadership of mayors. That is why, as members of C40, we are committed to implementing the plans and policies that will ensure our cities deliver their fair share of the Paris Agreement goals.

We recognize our duty to future generations and we are acting now to honour them. That means empowering the generation of young women leaders already emerging today, at the forefront of global climate action.

In cities around the world, starting with Paris and Mexico City, C40 has begun to identify emerging young women climate heroes, to receive mentorship and support in getting their ambitious projects into reality. Each of these inspirational young women receive training to develop their skills, help them overcome barriers, and inspire deeper engagement with climate change.

These young women, many of whom will be present at the Women4Climate conference, will inspire our movement to even greater achievements in the years ahead. From floating piers cleaning the air and the water in Paris, to planting thousands more trees across Mexico City, they are the leaders who will truly transform our cities.

Women, as well as men, sharing knowledge, expertise, and power across disciplines and borders offer our best hope of success.

The year 2018 will be remembered as a moment of truth for women—and for women who want to sustain the world socially, politically, economically, and environmentally. In Mexico City, many of the best and brightest women working for these goals, from cities, business, international organizations, the United Nations, science and academia will meet to chart a course toward a more sustainable future for our citizens.

Men have had their time in power and brought us here; now it is time for women to also lead.

Yes, we are unstoppable. And our movement keeps growing. Join us and be a part of it.

Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40

Elisabeth Ackermann, Mayor of Basel

Muriel Bowser, Mayor of Washington D.C.

Manuela Carmena, Mayor of Madrid

Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona

Jenny Durkan, Mayor of Seattle

Zandile Gumede, Mayor of Durban

Fumiko Hayashi, Mayor of Yokohama

Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo

Patricia de Lille, Mayor of Cape Town

Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal

Virginia Raggi, Mayor of Rome