CNCA Letter to COP23 Delegates

November 7, 2017

Dear COP23 Delegates:

This week, as you gather in Bonn for COP23 to discuss next steps after the Paris climate agreement, we strongly encourage you to radically ratchet up ambition and action. The time for timidity is over. The signals are serious. Greenhouse gas emissions are at an all-time high, the worst in 800,000 years. And with every year that passes, and with every climate agreement that goes unfulfilled, millions more die or are displaced.

We urge you to immediately address this health and security crisis, which has reached unprecedented proportions. The Lancet Journal, one of the world’s top medical publications, warns that climate change is damaging the health of millions of people around the world, estimating recently that pollution is killing 9 million people each year. If that’s not enough to warrant immediate action, the Environmental Justice Foundation reported out this month that climate change will create the world’s biggest refugee crisis. These are serious repercussions. 

We challenge you, given what we know, to act immediately. Every day of inaction is another day of not taking seriously what has been referred to by the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks report as the most serious of all threats facing the planet. That’s why as the highest-ambition cities, and cities battered by increasingly extreme weather, the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance is committed to doing everything we can to cut emissions, reduce waste, conserve energy and improve efficiency. And, frankly, we’re not seeing enough out of nation-states.

We prevail on you, as nation-states, to mirror what we sub-nationals are doing. Commit and work straightaway towards carbon neutrality, 100% renewable energy, zero-waste and zero-carbon. We challenge you, as nation-states, to truly lead so that sub-national actors – like cities, states and companies – aren’t alone at the forefront of the climate crisis and climate action.

Respected delegates, it’s time to save lives. Yes, we could talk at length about the economic opportunity. Yes, we could talk about the millions of jobs and the energy freedom that solar and wind power provide. Yes, we could talk about the incredible return on investment that comes with clean energy and the avoided $5.3 trillion fossil fuel cost to society. But for the moment, let’s focus on saving lives.

This is a humanitarian crisis and we need your help. Dirty fuels and climate disruption are killing and displacing millions of citizens around the world. It’s time to kick dirty carbon to the curb. Not sometime in the next several decades. Not sometime at the end of the 21st century. Now.


 The Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance