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Cities could slash emissions by 60% through further climate actions

If fully realised, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy said city and local government actions could account for 2.3 billion tons CO2e of annual emissions reduction in 2030.

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Cities are leading the way to keep global warming below the target of 1.5° C
Cities are leading the way to keep global warming below the target of 1.5° C

A 60 per cent increase in annual emissions reduction is achievable, finds a report from the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM), following a move by 10,000 cities to rally behind further low carbon measures.

 

The Emergency: Unlocking the Urban Opportunity Together report from GCoM and its alliance of partners sets out to showcase the collective impact of commitments across its 10,239 cities and local governments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

 

Paris Climate Agreement

 

According to GCoM, the report findings indicate the Paris Climate Agreement targets can be met. If fully realised, GCoM said city and local government actions could account for 2.3 billion tons CO2e of annual emissions reduction in 2030, matching yearly passenger road emissions from the US, China, France, Mexico, Russia and Argentina combined.

 

The covenant says this offers potential for a 60 per cent increase from 2018 and is the direct result of both “ambitious commitments” from 9,149 cities as well as the addition of 1,090 signatories in 2019.

 

With annual emissions reduction expected to reach 4.2 billion tons CO2e in 2050, GCoM cities are showcasing enormous potential for significantly lowering global emissions through further urban climate actions, the report says.

 

It warns that GCoM cities with higher-than-average climate risks are situated in countries with a lower national ‘readiness’ to adapt. Without mitigation and adaption actions from cities, all citizens will feel ever-growing impacts on health and wellbeing, forced migration, business relocation, reduced productivity and interruption of supply chains, it noted.

 

Six priority actions

 

By taking voluntary yet ambitious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increasing local-level resilience and providing access to secure, affordable and sustainable energy for their communities, city leaders have established themselves as critical partners and collaborators in tackling the global climate crisis, the report states. In partnership with national governments – a core principle of the GCoM alliance – even more is possible.

 

“This report clearly shows that if they can have access to the tools and resources they need, the global impact will be absolutely transformational.”

 

“In the face of the climate emergency, cities are stepping up to lead and confront this crisis. In Paris, we have long championed city climate action as a global driver of the change we need to reduce emissions and hasten the transition toward a greener, inclusive and more sustainable future,” said Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris and board member of GCoM.

 

“Since cities are leading the way to keep global warming below the target of 1.5° C, this report clearly shows that if they can have access to the tools and resources they need, the global impact will be absolutely transformational.”

 

In terms of meeting the Paris Climate Agreement, the report finds more would be possible if six priority actions were adopted:

  • Develop an overarching strategy to deliver shared prosperity while reaching net-zero emissions – and place cities at the heart
  • Align national policies behind compact, connected, clean cities
  • Fund and finance sustainable urban infrastructure
  • Coordinate and support local climate action in cities
  • Build a multilateral system that fosters inclusive, zero-carbon cities
  • Proactively plan for a just urban transition

“Cities are leading the way in the fight against climate change because mayors know we can’t wait to act,” added Michael Bloomberg, co-chair and founder, GCoM.

 

“In just three years, the Global Covenant of Mayors has shown what’s possible when cities around the world work together – and what we need to do in order to stop the climate crisis in its tracks.”

 

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