Dear fellow ICLEI Members,
I was deeply disappointed to learn that the U.S. has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement was adopted with worldwide celebration, and it entered into force less than one year later. It was a tremendous achievement, deserving of the praise it received.
Although I am disappointed, I am not disheartened. Institutions like ICLEI and cities like Seoul have played an important role in advancing local climate action at a global scale, progressing at a steady pace for many years, regardless of where national political leaders stood on this issue.
Today, we do not waver in our commitment to climate action. To the contrary, the ICLEI Network has already committed itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than one billion tons by 2020, and I believe our resolve will increase in the midst of this new reality.
I stand in solidarity with the nearly 200 ICLEI Members in the U.S. who represent 60 million Americans and their interests. They understand that what is best for the planet and their economy is to move forward, investing in new forms of energy and building healthy, efficient and sustainable cities. The efforts of our colleagues in the U.S. are now all the more important – even if the current conditions make things a bit harder.
At least 70 percent of U.S. citizens were in favor of staying in the Paris Agreement, and 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is manmade. The ICLEI Network stands on the right side of history, defending our values, our planet and future generations. We must come together and push forward even more strongly than before.
It is up to us to send this message worldwide and speak clearly at the next United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, when local and regional leaders join forces at the Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders.
Together, we have the power to affect great change and achieve our goals.
Mayor Park Won Soon
Mayor of Seoul and President of ICLEI