27 of the world’s largest cities say they’ve drastically reduced their carbon footprints.

While a hurricane ravages America’s east coast, sea levels rise around the globe, and the world’s largest ice shelves begin to destabilize, it’s hard to feel optimistic about the Earth’s future.

But on Thursday, September 13, as part of the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, leaders from 27 of the world’s largest cities announced their climate-harming carbon emissions have peaked and are now on a downward trajectory. The cities — which include some of the world’s largest — also pledged to cut them further.

To qualify, the cities had to have peaked at least six years ago, and the peak had to be at least 10% higher than the most recent emissions data.


Barcelona, Basel, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Copenhagen, Heidelberg, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Milan, Montréal, New Orleans, New York City, Oslo, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, Rome, San Francisco, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Vancouver, Warsaw and Washington, DC have all seen their emissions fall over the last five years.

These cities are home to over 54 million people.

“It is an incredible achievement for these 27 cities, including Paris, to have peaked their emissions,” C40 network chair and Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said. “As the greatest custodians of the Paris Agreement, mayors of the world’s great cities have once again shown that cities are getting the job done.”

via UNclimatechange/Flickr

According to C40 Cities, a coalition of local governments working to fulfill the goals of the Paris Climate agreement, the 27 cities are seeing emissions fall an average of 2% per year while their economies have grown at a rate of 3%.

The tremendous gains by these municipalities proves how emissions can be cut without having to sacrifice economic gains.

For example, San Francisco hit peak greenhouse emissions in 2000 and has reduced them by over 30% since 1990. During this time, the city’s population has grown by 20% and its economy by 111%.

The news comes as scientists warn that global emissions must peak by 2020 to avoid environmental catastrophe.

Reversing the rise in global emissions by the target date is important because it helps meet the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels”.

According to Real Climate, the Earth’s temperature has risen 1 °C since the late 19th century. If it were to rise another 1 °C, it would likely result in a massive destabilization of the planet’s ice sheets, causing sea levels to rise significantly throughout the planet.

via geekslop/Flickr

American participation in the C40 network and the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) flies the face of President Donald Trump who has  called climate change a "hoax" and pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

California Governor Jerry Brown was blunt about his opinion of the president at GCAS. When asked how Trump will be remembered, Brown replied, “I think he'll be remembered, on the path he's now? I don't know. Liar, criminal, fool,” the governor said according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

The work done by Governor Brown and other American lawmakers shows how local governments can work to solve a massive global issue without support from Washington DC.

Actor and activist Harrison Ford gave an impassioned speech at GCAS in which he warned people about supporting politicians who deny climate change science for their own political gain.

“For God’s sake, stop electing leaders who don't believe in science,” Ford said. “Or even worse, pretend they don’t believe in science. Never forget who you’re fighting for.”

Ford also painted a dramatic picture of the consequences we face by choosing not to act.

“We are all, rich or poor, powerful or powerless, we will all suffer the effects of climate and ecosystem destruction,” Ford said. “And we are facing what is quickly becoming the greatest moral crisis of our time. Those least responsible will bear the greatest costs.”

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The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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