By Sebastien Malo
NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Cities in six continents joined up to form the world's largest alliance to combat climate change on Wednesday, a move intended to help making ground-level changes to slow global warming.
More than 7,100 cities in 119 countries formed the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, a network for helping exchange information on such goals as developing clean energy, organizers said.
Cities are responsible for an estimated 75 percent of carbon emissions contributing to climate change and consume 70 percent of global energy, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.
"When mayors share a vision of a low-carbon future and roll up their sleeves, things get done," said Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice-president and co-chairman of the new alliance, in a statement.
The coalition is the world's largest, representing 8 percent of the world's population, its founders said. It results from the merger of two groups - the European Union's Covenant of Mayors and the U.N.-backed Compact of Mayors.
The other co-chairman is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire philanthropist who helped launch the Compact of Mayors.
Bloomberg has worked with mayors around the world to promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
He predicted the new coalition will help deliver on commitments made by 195 countries that met in Paris last year to limit global warming.
"This is a giant step forward in the work of achieving the goals that nations agreed to," Bloomberg said in a statement.
The Paris agreement will become binding on state governments when at least 55 countries, representing 55 percent of emissions of greenhouse gases, ratify it.
(Reporting by Sebastien Malo, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)