Yokohama, Japan is a leading city in Japan in fighting climate change and improving sustainability, and ever since he took office in August of 2021, Mayor of Yokohama Takeharu Yamanaka has been leading the charge on the city’s environmental policies, serving as a driving force in continuing the city’s efforts towards sustainability. In the newest acknowledgement of his efforts and dedication, on April 18, Mayor Yamakana was officially welcomed to the Board of Mayors and Leaders at the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM). The same announcement also welcomed Mayors of Despeñaderos, Argentina and Menjez, Lebanon to GCoM’s Board as well.
The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy is the largest global alliance for city climate leadership, and represents a global coalition of over 12,500 cities and local governments working to lower emission levels and meet or beat current guidelines such as those in the Paris Climate Agreement. Among those cities, only 10 mayors have been chosen to join the Board of Mayors, including the Mayor of Yokohama. These 10 Board members represent core networks and “will serve as ambassadors for urban climate action at the local, national, and global levels.” GCoM believes local leadership is integral to succeeding in climate goals on a global scale, and that the influence of city-level policy and initiative can have major impact in guiding the world toward a better future.
Yokohama, the second largest city in Japan by population, has historically been a leading city when it comes to emissions and sustainability. In 2019, Yokohama was one of the first Japanese cities to announce a determination to reach climate neutrality (reduce carbon emissions to net zero) by 2050, a goal that was later adopted by the entire nation in 2020. Yokohama has been chosen as an “Future City” for its superior environmental technology, infrastructure, and resilience by the Japanese government, and was ranked as an “A-List City” in environmental action and transparency by CDP in 2019 and 2021.
In response to his new position on the GCoM board, Yokohama Mayor Yamanaka stated, “It is a great honor to be appointed to the Board of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy representing ICLEI and the East Asia region. I am pleased to have this opportunity to work with like-minded leaders of global cities who share a determination to confront climate change. With the continuing trend of urbanization, it is crucial for local governments to take the initiative in decarbonization through multilevel action. Yokohama will work to engage our fellow global cities through strong partnerships to contribute to decarbonization and the achievement of the SDGs.”