British Columbia

Gregor Robertson appointed global ambassador for mayors' climate group

Former Vancouver mayor's new role involves convincing national governments to collaborate with cities and take climate change seriously.

Former Vancouver mayor's first appearance in new position will be at end of May in Vancouver

Former Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson has been appointed a global ambassador for an international group of mayors looking to address climate change in a meaningful way. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Former Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson has been appointed global ambassador for the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.

Brett Kobie, special advisor for communications with the Global Covenant for Mayors for Climate and Energy, says Robertson received the paid appointment — the first of its kind — because of his record and reputation as a politician and climate leader.

According to a news release, while Robertson was mayor Vancouver achieved the smallest carbon footprint per person of any North American city.

"I think where Gregor comes in is being able to kind of show all of our 9,200 mayors the dos and don'ts of how to get climate action off the ground at the urban level," said Kobie. "There's lots of ambition at the urban level but it's very difficult to make that real and often what's missing is collaboration with national governments, which is key to what Gregor is doing."

Kobie says cities need to take the lead on climate action if the world is to keep global warming to 1.5 C or less. 

"A lot of the budgets and agendas are being set at the national level so cities have to make a really big push to be heard at that level," he said. 

Robertson's first appearance on behalf of the mayors' organization will be at the end of the month at the Mission Innovation conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre. According to its website, Mission Innovation is a global initiative of 23 countries and the European Commission working to accelerate global clean energy innovations.

The Global Covenant of Mayors claims it is the largest global alliance for climate leadership, with over 9,200 cities and local governments as members. 

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