BALTIMORE, June 21 (UPI) -- Efforts are needed at the local level to help tackle energy and climate change challenges, the U.N. secretary-general told U.S. mayors in Baltimore.
Urban areas are responsible for about 60 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions and roughly the same amount of energy consumption.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told delegates at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Baltimore that "the smart money" is on cities that are taking the lead in green innovations that he said would help redefine the 21st-century urban landscape.
Metropolitan areas like Chicago and New York consume a significant portion of the nation's electricity and natural resources. Urban areas are expected to account for 94 percent of the nation's economic growth during the next 20 years.
The Conference of Mayors in May tackled green initiatives, saying most of its members would support an increase in the federal gasoline tax if it helped fund projects for pedestrians and bicycle use.
"For me the message is clear," Ban told the mayors, "the road to future peace and progress runs through the world's cities and towns."