This week, Madison is joining over 130 cities in signing the pledge for the Cities Race to Zero – zero carbon, that is. The Race to Zero is a global campaign to rally the world’s leadership and support for a zero carbon future. Leaders include cities, but also thousands of companies, regions, investors, and institutions. The timing is not a moment too soon. The 6th global climate assessment was released this week, which the United Nations chief called “a code red for humanity”. This comes just months before global leaders will meet at COP 26, a key climate summit, in Glasgow to strengthen the national climate commitments made in Paris.

By joining the Cities Race to Zero, I pledged that Madison will do its part to build a healthy, resilient, zero carbon transition that lessens future climate threats, creates good jobs, and benefits everyone in our communities. I pledged:

  1. To endorse the following:
    • We recognize the global climate emergency.
    • We are committed to keeping global heating below the 1.5°Celsius goal of the Paris Agreement.
    • We are committed to putting inclusive climate action at the center of all urban decision-making, to create thriving and equitable communities for everyone.
    • We invite our partners – political leaders, CEOs, trade unions, investors, and civil society – to join us in recognizing the global climate emergency and help us deliver on science-based action to overcome it.
  2. To reach (net)-zero in the 2040s or sooner, or by mid-century at the latest, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°Celsius.
  3. To identify short- and medium- term steps we will take and set an interim target to achieve in the next decade, which reflects a fair share of the 50% global reduction in CO2 by 2030 identified in the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5° Celsius.
  4. To immediately proceed to planning at least one inclusive and equitable climate action help to place Madison on a resilient pathway consistent with the 1.5°Celsius objective of the Paris Agreement and begin implementation no later than 2022.
  5. Report progress annually, beginning no later than 2022.

Much of Madison’s work already aligns with this pledge. Madison’s current goal is to reach net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. Madison has a goal for 100% Renewable Energy by 2030, and has a solid plan to meet that for our own municipal operations. Additionally, my Climate Forward agenda lays out commitments over the next two years for climate action, and we are in the process of building a bus rapid transit system in Madison that will substantially reduce Madison’s transportation emissions. But there is so much more to do. While we have taken good steps forward, we must take a harder look at what is needed for our entire community to achieve our 2030 and 2050 goals, and we must make the case for other businesses and organizations in Madison to do the same. I invite all of Madison’s leadership to join me in helping Madison step up and step forward to meet the most critical challenge of our time.

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Category: Sustainability