GHG emissions flatline in 30 of world's most influential cities

9th October 2019

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Katie Ridley

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have peaked in a total of 30 major cities across the world, one year ahead of the 2020 deadline set by scientists to limit global warming to 1.5ÀöC.

The C40 network for cities, which published the findings yesterday, hailed the achievement as evidence that “a rapid, equitable low-carbon transition is possible“.

Austin, Athens, Lisbon and Venice are the latest cities to reach peak emissions in line with science-based targets, joining the likes of London, Paris, Barcelona and San Francisco.

The 30 successful cities have cut their emissions by 22% on average since peaking, with Copenhagen leading the charge following a 61% reduction.

C40 executive director, Mark Watts, said: “The cities that have reached peak emissions are raising the bar for climate ambition and exemplifying how climate action creates healthier, more equitable and resilient communities.

“But this is nothing to win medals for – emissions across the whole world need to stop rising and start falling within the next year if we are to keep global heating below 1.5ÀöC.“

Half of the 94 cities affiliated with the C40 network are projected to have reached peak GHG emissions by the end of 2020, or have made concrete commitments to meet the this goal.

The analysis also shows that 82 have implemented cycle hire schemes, compared to 13 in 2009, while the number of electric buses in C40 cities has increased from fewer than 100 in 2009 to more than 66,000 today.

A total of 24 cities have committed to achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2030, compared to four in 2009, and the number that have banned or restricted single-use, non-recyclable plastic has increased from 2 to 18.

In addition, there are a total of 17 cities that now have restrictions on high-polluting vehicles that cover a significant part of the city, up from just three in 2019.

The findings come ahead of this week's C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen, along with the launch of the C40 Knowledge Hub to help cities curb emissions further.

“With the vast amount of expertise and resources now available through the C40 Knowledge Hub, we're going to see even more cities accelerating their climate action to limit global heating and deliver the future we wants,“ Watts added.

Image credit: ©iStock


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