Global, local leaders vow hard work against temperature rise

WASHINGTON (AP) — International leaders and local officials on Thursday pledged to work hard to stem the rise of global temperatures by investing in public transportation and electric cars, planting trees and switching to solar energy.

At a climate action summit, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon urged governments, businesses and civil society to make good on the landmark climate agreement concluded late last year in Paris by more than 170 countries. The deal aims to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared with preindustrial times.

Ban called on cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and on companies to invest in green technologies with the goal or cooling the planet and ensuring cleaner air and better health.

“We need action now,” Ban said. “Temperatures continue to rise. Arctic sea ice is melting fast. Droughts, storms and floods are costing lives and productivity.”

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said governments and corporations should invest in lower-carbon transport systems and switch over from road to rail and water transport.

“Inaction means we will not meet our targets set in Paris, and the global temperature will soar above 2 degrees Celsius,” Kim said. “That would spell disaster for us, for our children, and for the planet.”

Earlier, the mayors of major cities around the world announced a program to share their knowledge and know-how to fight hotter temperatures, air pollution and other effects of climate change.

“It’s about leadership, energy and passion that will help cool the planet,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told the conference.