Today, at the Künst Museum in Bonn, Germany, over 40 mayors and local political leaders from around the world convened for a screening of An Inconvenient Sequel, the latest climate change film from Al Gore, followed by a conversation with the former US Vice President on the state of climate action.
Following remarks from the Mayor of Bonn, First Vice President of ICLEI and co-host of the Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders, Vice President Al Gore opened the conversation with a strong statement on the role of local leaders and the movements and networks through which they mobilize:
"Because of our mayors, because of ICLEI, because of the We Are Still In movement, because of America’s Pledge and the many movements that have mobilized mayors, governors and business leaders, the US is on track to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement," said Al Gore.
Following the movie screening, Executive Mayor Solly Msimanga of Tshwane, Deputy Mayor Marie Nguyen Berg of Oslo, Councilor Matthew Appelbaum of Boulder and Councilor Andrea Reimer of Vancouver spoke with Gore about climate action on the ground in their cities.
Each of these local leaders is an advocate of climate action, believing in the critical role of city leaders in delivering on the Paris Agreement.
Mayor Msimanga spoke to the importance of action at all levels, encouraging nations to set targets ambitious targets but emphasizing that implementation happens at the local level. As a local leader, he is responsible for the interest of his people and is the one who responds when climate change impacts their lives.
As Deputy Mayor of Oslo, Norway, Marie Nguyen Berg is showing how modern city life can be climate friendly. Norway is one of the only countries in Europe where emissions are still rising – and in addition, the fear of climate change is actually declining. The role of cities like Oslo is to counteract this trend.
In Boulder, USA there is no shortage of climate scientists and support for climate action, according to Councillor Appelbaum. "With that comes a duty to do something, to lead and model action that other cities can follow," he said.
Meanwhile, Councillor Reimer of Vancouver is paving the way for her city to become the greenest in the world by 2020, leading by example.
At the end of the discussion, Al Gore encouraged the local leaders on the panel, those in the room and around the world to continue to lead and organize to advance climate action globally.