Diferentemente do filme Feitiço do Rio (1984), que atribuiu o romance vulgar entre um homem de meia-idade (vivido por Michael Caine) e uma adolescente às vibrações sensuais da Cidade Maravilhosa, a recente conferência Rio+20 serviu para mostrar outra cara do Rio de Janeiro: a de líder global ambiental. A cidade não só mantém as duas maiores florestas urbanas do mundo, a da Pedra Branca e a da Tijuca (na foto), mas também concluiu um moderno centro de tratamento de resíduos, que permitirá uma redução de 8% nas emissões de gases causadores de efeito estufa, e está construindo 300km de ciclovias. Para o Banco Mundial, a cidade tem sido o cenário para uma improvável melhoria nas relações entre o próprio Banco e organizações ambientais não-governamentais (ONGs) nos últimos 20 anos.
Rio de Janeiro
I learned this week that Durban got its name in 1835 from Sir Benjamin d’Urban, the first governor of the Cape Colony. His name seemed particularly apt as COP17’s urban-in-Durban yielded important contributions. During the first weekend at Durban City Hall, just next to the COP17 venue, 114 local governments signed the Durban Adaptation Charter, committing signatory cities to accelerate local adaptation efforts, including conducting risk assessments and more city-to-city cooperation. An impressive complement to last year’s Mexico City Pact that calls for similar efforts to measure and promote mitigation in participating cities. More than 200 cities have now signed on to the Mexico City Pact.
The following Monday at the COP venue, an important partnership was announced. All five multi-lateral development banks (MDBs) launched an unprecedented partnership committing all of the world’s development banks to particularly cooperate on cities and climate change efforts. The MDBs – that provide about $8.4 billion of basic services support to cities annually – will work toward common tools and metrics for GHG emissions and urban risk.
During COP17 itself, cities that were leading this effort shared their experiences: Rio de Janeiro presented their revised GHG emissions inventory, an important leadership contribution; Tokyo outlined the impressive first year operation of its first-ever city-based emissions trading system; Mexico City issued the first Annual Report of the Mexico City Pact; Mayor Parks Tau of Johannesburg chaired a well attended C40 event. By my count, in just seven days, there were at least 100 events highlighting the critical role for cities to lead the world’s mitigation efforts, and better prepare to adapt to changing climate.