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Global Mayors Sign Climate-Change Agreement as GHG Emissions Projected to Rise in 2010

Ahead of the United Nations climate change conference (COP16) set to start in Cancun, Mexico, next week, global mayors have signed a voluntary pact in Mexico City to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reports AFP.

Representatives from 135 global cities signed the Mexico City Pact, which establishes a monitoring and verification mechanism for cities to address climate change. The pact will be presented to at the UN talks next week.

Gabriel Sanchez, president of Think Foundation, a Mexican non-profit, told AFP that each city “will have to register its climate data (commitments as well as performance) in the city climate record” during the next eight months.

The signers will establish their climate actions in the Carbon Cities Climate Registry (CCCR) at the Bonn Centre for Local Climate Action and Reporting. Officials told AFP that residents will be able to track their cities’ performance online.

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard pledged that Mexico City would reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions by around 14 percent, reports AFP.

Mexico City’s Green Plan set a goal to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million metric tonnes between 2008 and 2012 through a program of new investments in public transportation, conservation of public lands, reductions in air pollution, improvements in water, solid waste and sanitation infrastructure, and encouraging companies and citizens to adopt climate-friendly practices.

At the same time the pact was signed, an annual emissions study was released,  indicating that global emissions are on track to reach a record in 2010, despite dipping 1.3 percent in 2009 from 2008 primarily due to the global financial crisis, reports Reuters.

Pep Canadell, executive director of the Global Carbon Project and one of the co-authors of the study published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Geoscience told Reuters that they were expecting a bigger decrease due to the financial crisis.

Canadell also said in the article that emissions from fossil fuels are projected to increase by more than 3 percent in 2010 if economic growth stays on track, marking a return to high growth rates of 2000 to 2008.

Researchers attribute the rise in emissions to increased demand for coal, oil and gas by emerging nations including China, India and Brazil.

Emissions of fossil-fuel gases in 2009 fell by 11.8 percent in Japan, by 6.9 percent in the United States, by 8.6 percent in Britain, by 7.0 percent in Germany and by 8.4 percent in Russia, compared to an increase of eight percent in China, reports AFP.

India’s emissions increased 6.2 percent and South Korea 1.4 percent, reports Reuters.

Canadell also told Reuters that better data and forest conservation policies particularly in Brazil were making a difference in cutting emissions from deforestation.

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