At Rio+20, Cities & Stock Exchanges Take On Climate Change

Expectations aren’t high for what leaders of the world’s nations can accomplish at Rio+20 in Brazil this week, but mayors of the world’s megacities and leading stock exchanges are moving ahead.

Mayors of the 59 biggest cities – the C40 Climate Leadership Group – are at Rio+20 to create a peer-to-peer network to cut methane emissions from landfills, with support from the World Bank and as a partner of the US State Department’s Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which is working on climate forcers.

This C40 network and partners will provide technical assistance to help cities develop viable programs and projects that reduce methane gas production and get access to financing.

"We’re not arguing with each other about emissions targets, we’re going out and making progress," NYC Mayor Bloomberg, who leads C40, told reporters.

They also announced a partnership with the Global Urban Initiative on Sustainability to develop a library on their website that houses information on what the world’s cities are doing about climate change – and tools and resources cities can use to further their work.

One of the projects posted will be the largest study on energy use in urban buildings, released this week by NYC, which has a goal of renovating nearly one million buildings.

They are also in Rio to call on national governments and international organizations to provide more financing and other support for local climate action. 64% of city initiatives are funded through general municipal funds.

At Rio, C40 is hosting roundtables on "Governance, Advocacy, and Institutional Framework on Sustainable Development"; "Green Growth & Poverty Eradication"; and "Climate Adaptation and Risk Assessment".

The C40 is on track to cut their GHG emissions by over a 1 billion tons a year through 2030, the amount produced by Mexico and Canada combined. In the past five years, NYC has cut carbon emissions 13%.

In May, C40 announced they would develop a global protocol for community-scale greenhouse gas emissions, with ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) and the World Resources Institute. It will be piloted in at least 10 global cities.

Stock Exchanges Urge Sustainability Reports

Nasdaq and stocks exchanges in Sao Paulo, Johannesburg, Istanbul and Cairo announced at Rio that they would urge their 4,600-plus companies to produce sustainability reports, or explain why they don’t. They are also urging other stock exchanges to join the effort, reports Bloomberg.

Yesterday, they held the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Global Dialogue 2012, as part of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, which explores how exchanges can work together with investors, regulators, and companies to enhance corporate transparency, and ultimately performance, on environmental, social and corporate governance issues and to encourage responsible long-term approaches to investment.

Major institutional investors have been calling for common international standards for years, and are exhorting Rio+20 envoys to bring these demands to businesses in their countries.

A major part of the drive will be devising international standards so that meaningful comparisons can be made between companies.

Here’s the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative website:

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