C40 Participates in Guardian Live Chat about Sustainable Cities

C40 director Mike Marinello participated last week in a lively and informative online chat hosted by The Guardian entitled “What Makes a Sustainable City?” Panelists included representatives of C40 partners CDP and Arup, as well as other noted experts in the field of urban planning and sustainability.

The conversation was wide-ranging. Some participants questioned the role of cities in addressing global warming and why the power of mayors is unique in this space. To address this, Mike described the ways in which cities with vastly different experiences can still learn from one another, emphasizing that a combination of policy, private sector partnerships and technological innovation would be necessary to find tailored solutions for cities’ toughest sustainability challenges. The position of mayors is a key distinction; they are extremely close to their citizens and see the direct link between public health, quality of life and the environment. The story of Syndey is emblematic of how a community dialogue between citizens and local leaders results in the willingness to address climate change head on.

There were also a number of issue-specific questions that were raised. A great question about building retrofits as an effective way to reduce urban greenhouse gas emissions sparked conversation about the incredible potential for upgrading existing commercial buildings. Mike pointed to the London’s landmark RE:FIT program as a working example of how to help hundreds of public buildings get an “energy makeover,” saving money in the process. And a question about waste management brought up the leading work C40’s director of waste management, Karen Luken , is doing with city governments around the world.

Mike closed the session by pointing to the city of Dhaka to remind us all that cities present one of our greatest hopes to affect meaningful change in combatting the climate crisis. To read the full exchange, visit The Guardian’s website.