Big cities work to lower CO2

3rd June 2011

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  • Local government ,
  • Reporting ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Renewable



The world's largest cities are taking action to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but few have calculated the future investments that will be needed to achieve this goal, reveals the Carbon Disclosure Project (CPD).

Working with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), a network of mayors collaborating on how to tackle climate change, the CDP requested information from 58 major cities, including London, New York and Tokyo, on their GHG emissions.

More than two thirds report their community-wide GHG emissions, revealing that they accounted for 12% of global emissions.

Sixty-two per cent of the reporting cities confirmed they had climate change action plans and 57% already have emissions reduction targets in place.

According to a second report, published alongside the CDP findings, mayors of C40 cities are overseeing 4,734 climate change actions, with 1,465 more under consideration.

Examples include Seoul’s plans to retrofit 10,000 buildings by 2030 and Sao Paulo’s goal to fuel all its public transport with renewable energy sources by 2017.

However, only six of the cities have calculated the financial investment needed to meet reduce emissions across their communities.

“City governments are struggling to put clear numbers on the investments needed to achieve their GHG reduction targets. Technical assistance and private sector input might help cities to improve their ROI on climate change projects,” stated the report.

CDP executive chair Paul Dickinson was positive about the findings arguing the number of cities willing to publish their emissions was similar to that of big business and that measuring emissions leads to their better management.

“There are considerable opportunities for cities to advance their energy and sustainability programs, not just to reduce environmental risk but to bolster economic growth,” he said.

“Insight and transparency from the measurement and reporting process is a crucial step in the journey to achieving a greener economy.”

Welcoming the launch of the report, mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Cities are firmly at the vanguard of the global charge to deliver large scale carbon reductions and energy efficiencies.

“In seeking to set the pace and work together, cities have immense clout to stimulate low carbon world markets to unleash economic opportunities for their citizens.”

Other finding from the CDP survey confirmed that 43% of C40 cities were already dealing with the physical impacts of climate change and its threat for national infrastructure. Examples cited include intense rainfall in Rio de Janeiro during 2010 which damaged waste management, transportation and communication and the well-known impact of hurricane Katrina on New Orleans.

To read both reports in full visit the C40 Cities website.


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