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I’m excited to have the opportunity to be in New York this week representing Microsoft as we take part in the activities of Climate Week 2015, especially the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change gathering where leaders will unveil progress and approaches to driving meaningful action on addressing climate change.

Everyone – companies, citizens and governments – has an important role to play. And, the work we are doing with cities around the globe is central to addressing climate change. In our urbanized world, cities generate around 80% of global economic output, and around 70% of global energy use and energy-related GHG emissions.

Through Microsoft CityNext, we’re working with governments and organizations globally to connect cloud, Big Data, mobile and social technologies to improve overall resource efficiency, reduce energy use and emissions, and better manage waste. Our work has empowered cities with solutions designed to address issues ranging from setting up smart grids to improving water management. A few examples include:

All of this work we are doing with cities, is an important piece of our overall puzzle of addressing climate change. As we gathered in New York, we will also stand alongside the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to launch an important new program: the Climate Neutral Now Initiative. You can find more information on our commitment by checking out the Microsoft on the Issues blog.

It’s these types of corporate voluntary approaches which have huge potential to drive real change not only in reducing carbon emissions, but also in making renewable energy accessible to more people. At Microsoft, we will continue working with our industry partners, peers and organizations around the world to help build a more sustainable future.

Follow Microsoft CityNext on Twitter and LinkedIn for more news on smart cities and sustainability.