World Banks seeks to fight climate change in cities

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Senior World Bank officials called for United Nations backed schemes to tackle greenhouse gas emissions at a city and regional level, during a press conference on Friday.

"We are trying to create sub-national financing options and are pushing for reform of the clean development mechanism so that cities are able to access climate financing," said Andrew Steer, the World Bank's special envoy for climate change, at the launch of the Bank's Cities and Climate Change report.

The clean development mechanism (CDM) is a UN plan where nation 's finance projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in other nations. At present only private companies can access funds. Steer 's suggestion would allow cities in poorer nations to withdraw funds from the scheme to reduce emissions as well.

"There are a lot of benefits to the local environment to reducing energy related emissions," Steer said. "There are also advantages in being the first mover."

Steer said that the World Bank had strongly supported the greenhouse gas fighting plan, called the Global Covenant on Climate, signed by 138 mayors from 43 nations in Mexico City at last month's World Mayors Summit.

"We were strong supporters of that meeting and we are operating in all the developing world cities that are part of the plan," Steer told the conference. The World Bank report launched on Friday mentions a figure widely used at the summit that cities are responsible for 80 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. It also said that cities will have to invest 80 billion to 100 billion dollars a year to fight emissions.

Steer specifically praised the New York, Mexico City, Amman and Sao Paulo for undertaking actions that go beyond commitments taken on by their national governments in a statement issued Friday.

"They are showing how to address mitigation, adaptation, the delivery of basic urban services, and poverty reduction through smart ideas and local initiatives. They need the support of their national governments and the international community at large," he said.

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