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Mayors urge Abe to lead G-20 debate on climate, other global issues

Mayors of major world cities asked Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday to lead debate on pressing global issues such as climate change at the Group of 20 summit next month in Osaka.


The local government leaders from the “Urban 20” group released a joint statement at the end of their meeting in Tokyo, setting various goals that include a commitment toward “decarbonization by 2050 at the latest.”


“We are aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions to effectively zero by 2050 and cut plastic waste,” Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said in handing the communique to Abe at his office along with other participants of the two-day meeting including the mayors of Berlin, Helsinki and Rome.


“We hope that the G-20 leaders will listen to our proposals,” Koike said.


Abe responded, “Climate change and marine plastic are among the global issues that the G-20 will discuss along with free trade and rules for the digital economy.”

The leaders of the G-20 major economies will gather in Osaka on June 28 and 29.


In the statement, the mayors urged the G-20 leaders to set targets and develop pathways toward “decarbonizing the energy grid, with 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030, and 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.”


Climate change is “the most pressing challenge of the 21st century,” they said, while adding their cities are committed to the 2015 Paris climate accord.


The accord aims to keep the average increase in global temperatures to well below 2 C, and ideally 1.5 C, from preindustrial levels to mitigate the impact of climate change such as droughts, floods and rising sea levels.


President Donald Trump has decided to pull the United States out of the accord, making climate change one of the contentious agenda items at the G-20.


To prepare for climate-related hazards and natural disasters, the mayors also called for building resilient infrastructure.

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