By Corinne Murdock |
This week, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari are attending the United Nation’s (UN) COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. The conference began Sunday and will last until next Friday. The attendees are meeting with the objective of realizing the Paris Agreement through finalization of the Paris Rulebook and acting on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Gallego’s spokespersons informed AZ Free News that the city didn’t pay for Gallego’s trip – the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group paid, a global network of nearly 100 mayors that collaborate on climate solutions. In May, Gallego was elected the vice chair for C40’s steering committee.
Ansari’s spokespersons didn’t respond by press time.
Gallego told Business Journal that she would be networking with companies who may potentially invest in the city. In a statement posted to Twitter, Gallego explained that this conference would bring fresh ideas on climate change initiatives to Phoenix, as well as serve as an opportunity to share some of Phoenix’s initiatives, like their cool pavement installations. “Excited to be attending the UN #COP26 Climate Summit. Phoenix is an innovative leader on climate solutions,” wrote Gallego. “We’ll share our success, and learn about successes from cities around the globe. #TogetherForOurPlanet”
Ansari’s message concerning her attendance reflected more urgency, claiming that lives were at stake. “After spending years working to get elected officials to commit to bold climate solutions, I’m heading to Glasgow for #COP26 proud to represent District 7 in Phoenix,” wrote Ansari. “We just passed our #climateaction plan. Lives are at stake— it’s time to implement.”
Prior to her election to city council, Ansari served as a climate advisor for the UN. She attributed her work as crucial to delivering the Paris Agreement in 2015.
The pair will discuss Phoenix’s climate initiatives, including their $2.8 million Heat Response and Mitigation Office. The purpose of the office is to reduce the effects of urban heat, a phenomenon in which urbanization causes higher temperatures. Phoenix is the only city that has an office dedicated to these efforts.
Phoenix’s latest climate action plan was approved last month. The city pledged to certain goals, such as becoming 100 percent carbon-neutral by 2050, eliminating all food deserts, and establishing 100 years of clean and reliable water supplies.
The COP26 conference claims that climate change is the greatest threat facing the world. Two of the goals listed were reaching net zero for emissions and limiting global warming by 1.5 degrees. The UN claimed in their promotional video for COP26 that “Earth is sending a message that we must not ignore.” They showed pictures of various natural disasters, mixed with happy scenes from nature.
“What is COP? The potential threat to the surrounding natural environment, what the UN is calling the world’s first climate change famine,” said the conference promotional video. “Even on our warming planet there are reasons for hope. We need to have the courage to try. There are going to be a lot more jobs created in the economy. Climate change is not the problem, climate change is the expression of the problem.”