Local Contingent will Represent Western Pennsylvania at COP26

A contingent from Western Pennsylvania including Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and the City’s Chief Resilience Officer will attend COP26, the upcoming international climate summit. Mayor Peduto – the North American representative to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy who has famously supported the Paris Agreement – will be joined by local non-profit and academic organizations in Glasgow, Scotland.

COP26 – the 26th climate change summit of the Conference of Parties – will bring United Nations member States together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Over 120 heads of state will attend the conference, including U.S. President Joe Biden. Biden will bring 13 cabinet members and high-ranking officials to the summit as a demonstration of U.S. commitment to climate change – including veteran climate diplomat John Kerry and former U.S. President Barack Obama.

“Climate Change is happening globally.  We are held accountable nationally, and we are managing mitigation efforts locally,” said Mayor William Peduto. “It’s important that we bring together all levels of government, nonprofit and advocacy partners on an international scale to host an ambitious, inclusive 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference. The City of Pittsburgh is honored to represent our region with several local partners and the global community to collaborate and find scalable solutions so our recoveries are infused with equitable economies that promote sustainable industries.”

Representatives from the Pittsburgh region will include:

  • City of Pittsburgh:
    • William Peduto, Mayor, City of Pittsburgh
    • Grant Ervin, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Pittsburgh
  • Sister Cities Association of Pittsburgh:
    • Kathy Risko, Executive Director
  • Green Building Alliance:
    • Executive Director Jenna Cramer will be joined by other team members including:
    • Noah Shaltes, Board Chair (PJ Dick)
    • Jeffrey McDaniel, Board Secretary (Innovation Works)
  • Carnegie Mellon University:
    • Anna Siefken, Executive Director, Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation
  • Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens:
    • Richard Piacentini, President and CEO
    • Dr. Sarah States, Director of Research and Science Education
    • Jennifer Torrance, Science Education Coordinator

“As we work towards COP26, the issues caused by our changing climate are clearly in focus,” said Grant Ervin, the City’s Chief Resilience Officer. “Cities are at the epicenter of decisions related to emissions reduction, systemic inequality, and the brunt of weather born crises. In Pittsburgh, we are no longer planning for these challenges but actively budgeting and allocating resources, changing transportation systems, and working to advance the clean energy transition at the local and regional scale. We need to meet the challenges of the moment.”

Activities the representatives will engage in while at COP26 will include a Sister Cities signing between Glasgow and Pittsburgh, a high-performance buildings thought leaders discussion, a roundtable on creating resilient cities, and much more. The City of Pittsburgh is also a finalist for the Climate Challenge Cup, which will be awarded at COP26. Here, partners share their hopes for the outcomes of the trip:

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to go to Glasgow to sign our Sister City agreement in person as part of COP 26,” said Kathy Risko, Executive Director of Sister Cities Association of Pittsburgh. “Last November we held a virtual signing ceremony that established our formal relationship and since then we have been working on a variety of policy items with Glasgow that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development goals (UN SDGs). This unique approach to our sister relationship is a model that we are using with other sister cities.”

“I am thrilled to be participating at COP26 on behalf of the more than 170 energy researchers at Carnegie Mellon,” said Executive Director for the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation Anna J. Siefken. “The opportunity to advance critical energy and climate-tech research via this once-in-a-lifetime convening will give us the chance to move our critical efforts forward on the international stage in a way that reflects our determination to mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

“Around the world, so many cities just like Pittsburgh are experiencing unique climate challenges that are impacting public health, social equity, and economic development,” said Jenna Cramer, executive director of Green Building Alliance. “Like Pittsburgh, these communities are developing innovative on-the-ground solutions that can be replicated. At Green Building Alliance, we are looking forward to connecting with international partners so we can learn from one another and support each other in our local efforts to positively transform the world through the built environment for a sustainable, healthy, and just future for everyone.”

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