Leaders from St. Paul and other cities around the country gathered in Washington, D.C. on Friday to discuss the role cities should play in global climate change efforts.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said cities have been active on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and find ways to build resiliency in the face of climate impacts.
"But at these larger U.N. conferences, cities have kind of been relegated to the same status as an NGO, a non-governmental organization," Coleman said. "So they've been off to the side of the conversation while the focus has been on what federal governments were going to do. The reality: Cities are producing 75, 80 percent of the carbon emissions in the world, cities are going to lead the way on reducing them."
Coleman also addressed efforts in the Twin Cities to impact climate change.
"The fact of the matter is we take it for granted in St. Paul and the Twin Cities the work that our communities are doing on climate change," Coleman said. "They've been very aggressive and at the forefront, but that's not the case across the globe and even across the country, and so the question is what role will cities play in leading the conversation as opposed to following, waiting for national governments to speak on the issue."
Coleman called for cities to make their voices heard at the upcoming U.N. climate talks being held in Paris in December.