Melbourne and Sydney have become the first Australian cities to comply with Compact of Mayors requirements, a global coalition of mayors and city officials pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience to climate change and track progress transparently.

The two cities join another eight global cities that have pledged to make significant carbon cuts ahead of COP 21 in Paris later this year, comprising Copenhagen, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Stockholm, Oslo, New York and Washington DC.

Joining the Compact of Mayors, launched in 2014, was a key recommendation of a recent report that found that low carbon cities could unlock $17 trillion worth of savings by 2050.

“Through the Compact of Mayors, cities are making a major contribution toward global progress on climate change,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg. “They are also showing their national governments that more ambitious goals are both possible and achievable. And – perhaps most importantly of all – they are proving that fighting climate change and increasing economic growth go hand in hand.”

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said that the city would not be the “world’s most liveable” without careful attention to prosperity and sustainability.

“We have a target to achieve Zero Net Emissions by 2020, which is one of the most ambitious goals in the C40 Climate Leadership Group of 78 cities. Commitment to change is required at all levels to make this happen: from the community, business and government,” he said.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Australian cities could make a real difference by showing leadership and working together.

“Our cities account for around 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which means we need a serious effort in our cities to slow global warming,” she said.

“Our commitment to this compact with city leaders from around the world reinforces our commitment to the Sydney community to take action on climate change.”

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