SAN DIEGO — San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria departed for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference Monday, saying it is part of his plan to seek new opportunities for partnerships and funding to help advance local climate action efforts.
The mayor was invited to speak on panels detailing how subnational governments are addressing the climate crisis. The panels are being led by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Climate Mayors, and will include the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Beverly (Massachusetts) Mayor Michael Cahill and Maui (Hawaii) Councilmember Kelly King.
“I think there has been understandable criticism of global conferences like this one and that maybe its just a lot about talk, but at the local level, folks like me, people that are mayors, we don’t get the luxury of just talking, we have to deliver,” Gloria said.
COP26 brings parties together from across the globe to exchange information and strategies to advance international climate goals such as the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The climate advocacy by Mayor Gloria is part of his “Our Climate, Our Future” initiative, which seeks to address the climate crisis, improve public health and quality of life, and drive innovation and opportunity in the regional economy.
He wrote the city’s Climate Action Plan that was ratified in 2015 unanimously by a bipartisan city council and now he is implementing it as mayor.
“The establishment of protected bikeways, other sorts of expansions of wetlands and other projects that are important on a neighborhood level, but need to be seen in this global context of our collective fight against climate change,” he said.
Gloria also wanted to highlight the city’s leadership on climate change.
“We are proud of our community, we are proud of having the world famous beautiful perfect climate and it’s worth saving, worth protecting,” he said.
San Diego has set a goal to bring municipally-owned and operated buildings, such as libraries and police stations, to zero emissions by 2035. As the country’s eighth largest city and the second biggest in the state, San Diego has a huge footprint and plays a significant role in the world’s future.
“When we speak, people listen and so it’s important for our elected leaders to be in those rooms and really represent our community: the things that are going well, the areas we want to improve and really work to collaborate on this issue and other big issues: homelessness, housing affordability, transportation infrastucture,” Mayor Gloria said.