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Cities’ central role in climate change

IPCC states that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes” in all aspects of society

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Cities and their mayors have a pivotal part to play in tackling climate change
Cities and their mayors have a pivotal part to play in tackling climate change

Cities and their mayors can, and should, be advocates of a resilient, low carbon future if we are to get anywhere near the 1.5C future stated in today’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report, said Giles Bristow, director of programmes at sustainable energy charity, Ashden.

 

IPCC states that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” but compared to 2°C has clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems and could go hand-in-hand with ensuring “a more sustainable and equitable society”.

 

Scientific input for climate change

 

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C was approved by the IPCC on Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea, and will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

 

The report is clear that rising sea levels and increased occurrences of extreme weather are expected to continue and worsen. It also, however, points out that it is theoretically possible to limit the increase in global temperatures.


“At Ashden we believe that business and enterprise holds the key to a successful, sustainable future,” said Bristow. “By creating an enabling city-level policy and finance environment, we can facilitate this.

 

"We also believe that city priorities and low carbon progress should not be mutually exclusive. If we focus on low carbon goals, it can help with a wide range of issues such as housing, transport, jobs, skills and health, which often get siloed at the delivery level.

 

“In the UK especially, metro mayors and their teams have the opportunity take a step back and view their city and its challenges as a whole.”

"If we focus on low carbon goals, it can help with a wide range of issues such as housing, transport, jobs, skills and health, which often get siloed at the delivery level"

Ashden, which supports and promotes sustainable energy projects around the world, regularly convenes sustainability leads in UK cities through its UK Sustainable Cities programme.

 

“It provides the opportunity for our winners, partners and others in the sector to share experience and expertise, and to delve into new issues on the horizon, such as the potential for city-level industrial strategies to support the low carbon transition,” said Bristow.

 

Sarah Butler-Sloss, founder-director at Ashden, said limiting global temperatures to 1.5°C is arguably the biggest challenge the human race has ever faced and must not be underestimated, but neither should the reward be played down.

 

“There is a lot of work ahead, and some of the changes may be disruptive,” she said. “But the prize is not just a planet that can support life for millennia to come – it is also immediate benefits for people now, with cleaner air to breathe, more liveable cities, access to sustainable energy for all, buildings that are nicer and more pleasant to live and work in and creation of new, rewarding jobs.”

 

The Ashden Award is globally recognised as a mark of excellence in the field of green energy.

 

If you like this, you might be interested in reading the following:

 

How metro mayors can lead the sustainable cities charge

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Seattle receives climate challenge funding

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Sustainability: Cities and technology vendors must lead by example

Delta Electronics’ M.S. Huang urges cities and technology vendors to practise what they preach for a more sustainable future.

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