Members of the Flat Earth Society may still claim climate change doesn't exist. Some people may also claim cities have no role in battling climate change. Neither is further from the truth. That's why cities as well as nation states have been invited to participate in the world climate change conference being held in Paris next month.
That's why more than 200 mayors from around the world have been invited to attend. That's why the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Cities and Climate Change asked me to participate as the leader of one of the world's most liveable cities, speaking at the Climate Summit for Local Leaders and sessions on Sustainable Public Procurement.
And that's why as mayor of New Zealand's biggest city I am part of the official New Zealand Government delegation.
I am looking forward to working with government, business and community representatives in Paris to reach an agreement that inspires local action on climate change.
I am sure these discussions will certainly help us further advance Auckland's action. While there is a lot at stake there is a lot to gain and we want to be on the cutting edge of solutions, innovation and far reaching benefits of acting on climate change now.
Action at both national and local levels is mutually beneficial and will bring a better quality of life for Aucklanders while improving New Zealand's position as an international leader.
Cities are key players in the response to climate change, globally and in New Zealand.
The Global Commission on Economy and Climate Change estimates that putting the effort into cities, with better public transport, green buildings, and better waste management, could save US$22 trillion ($34 trillion) by 2050 and avoid the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of India every year.
The time for doubt is over. We know we are contributing dangerous levels of carbon to our atmosphere. We know the consequences of inaction.
For Auckland, climate change will lead to more severe storms, flooding and sea level rise - not to mention wider economic and social challenges. And that is exactly why councils are playing an essential role in ensuring communities are adapting to the impacts of climate change.
We are all too aware of the challenges of shoring up infrastructure and managing insurance costs, as well as the impacts on biodiversity, productivity, and communities. Auckland's vision is to become the world's most liveable city and this includes tackling the climate change issue. We have an ambitious target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Auckland by 40 per cent by 2040.
Better transport options, clean air, green spaces, and energy efficient buildings all help reduce emissions while improving quality of life for the people who live here today. Auckland's public transport patronage is growing at unprecedented levels. Electrification of the trains has removed 1 per cent of Auckland's GHG emissions.
New paths allow Aucklanders to ride and walk more conveniently and safely while reducing their carbon footprint.
The new Auckland Council headquarters building is 40 per cent more energy efficient than it was, saving ratepayers more than $500,000 a year. And new infrastructure is being built to be climate-ready. We are already moving in the right direction. Now is the time to accelerate.
But there is another reason to stand with world mayors at this conference. Following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Mayor Anne Hidalgo made it clear she wants the conference, including the Climate Summit for Local Leaders, to go forward as planned.
I echo the views of other mayors around the world when I say there is no better way for us to express our support for the people of France than to stand shoulder to shoulder on December 4, when the world's eyes will be on Paris.
Terrorism threatens cities around the world. Defeating it requires unity, solidarity and co-operation. This summit offers a unique opportunity for us collectively to express our unwavering commitment to one another and our unshakeable determination to defeat terrorism and defend our shared values.
Critics might argue Auckland should not be represented. I am not sure what that would achieve, apart from nothing.