By Megan Rowling
BARCELONA - European cities are seeking greater recognition and support for their pioneering efforts to tackle climate change, both from national governments and the European Union, mayors leading the charge said on Wednesday.
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau urged all political parties with candidates standing for the European Parliament next May to outline how they plan to help curb global warming.
"The elections should be an occasion for battling against climate change, and putting this important problem on the European agenda," said Colau, speaking at a conference on smart cities in Barcelona.
The Catalan city adopted a climate plan this year, which the mayor said lays out a path to cut its planet-warming emissions 45 percent by 2030 and to become carbon-neutral by 2050.
The plan also aims to protect vulnerable citizens from intensifying heatwaves, rain storms and drought.
December's U.N. climate talks in Poland are an opportunity for European cities to "remind their nations and the European Commission that we have to be leaders against climate change", Colau added.
Georgios Kaminis, mayor of Athens - which is also feeling the effects of rising heat - said the EU should provide direct funding to cities to help them act on climate change.
That can be discussed as cities and the European Commission work out how to implement a U.N. plan for sustainable development of urban areas, he added.