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105 cities make CDP’s climate action ‘A List’

Analysis suggested that, on average, cities on the A List are taking over three times as many climate actions as non-A List cities.

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105 cities around the world, including Mexico City, Cape Town, Los Angeles, Iskandar and Leicester, have been named on CDP’s Cities A List for their transparency and action on climate change.

 

The environmental non-profit’s scoring is based on data reported by over 850 cities through the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System in 2019. Through the platform, cities measure and report key environmental data like their emissions, climate-related vulnerabilities, and actions to reduce emissions and adapt to risks. They are scored ‘A’ to ‘D’ – based on the completeness and quality of their data, and the level of action taken.

 

A-grade cities

 

To score an A, a city must, as a minimum, have a city-wide emissions inventory, have set an emissions reduction target, published a climate action plan and have completed a climate adaptation plan to demonstrate how it will tackle climate hazards now and in the future.

 

CDP analysis has shown that on average cities on the A List are taking over three times as many climate actions as non-A List cities. This represents five times as many actions to cut emissions and curb future warming, and twice as many to adapt to current climate hazards, from flooding to extreme heatwaves.

 

To score an A, a city must have a city-wide emissions inventory, have set an emissions reduction target, published a climate action plan and have completed a climate adaptation plan.

 

“Climate science leaves no doubt that global emissions must be halved by 2030 to limit the effects of the global climate crisis. Cities play a crucial role in meeting this challenge: covering just two per cent of the earth’s surface, they are the source of 70 per cent of emissions”, commented Kyra Appleby, global director of cities, states and regions at CDP.

 

“These 105 cities are setting an example for the level of transparency and action we need from cities worldwide. We call on cities across the globe to share their climate actions and strategies through the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System, and work to join the ranks of the A List.”

 

Leading cities

 

CDP highlighted examples of city climate leadership, including:

  • Greater Manchester, United Kingdom: The city set the target to become carbon neutral by 2038 – 12 years ahead of the UK government’s goal. This target demands annual emissions reductions of 15 per cent. The city is working to add at least an extra 45MW of locally generated and renewable electricity to the grid by 2024.

  • eThekwini, South Africa: The city aims for 40 per cent of electricity consumption to be met by renewables by 2030. It is also working to ensure that 70 per cent of private electricity demand is supplied by self-generated renewable energy by 2050. To make this technology accessible, eThekwini has launched a number of solar energy and energy-efficiency programmes, such as a GIS-based solar map and framework which will enable users to plan rooftop installations.

    Additionally, the city plans to enact a by-law requiring buildings to be retrofitted with energy-efficient technologies by 2030, and all new buildings to be net zero-carbon by the same date.

  • Petaling Jaya, Malaysia: In 2011, the City of Petaling Jaya launched a low carbon tax assessment scheme that provides tax rebates to residents that undertake low carbon building retrofit measures and make more sustainable lifestyle choices such as ownership of hybrid/electric vehicles. Since its inception, the project has achieved estimated emissions reductions of 200tCO2e per annum. The only local council in Asia to launch such an incentive for homeowners, the Petaling Jaya Homeowners Low Carbon and Green Initiative has waived RM414,380 ($101,700) for 1,240 households in the city up to 2018.

  • Fayetteville, USA: One of 125 city signatories of the “We Are Still In” agreement (a coalition of US organisations and local governments who will continue to abide by the Paris Agreement regardless of America’s withdrawal), Fayetteville has committed to convert all facilities to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030, and reduce emissions 40 per cent by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050.

View all the A List cities here.

 

Climate action case study: Yokohama

 

Yokohama is Japan’s second-largest city and one of the largest international ports with a population of 3.7 million.

 

“Demonstrating and developing a thorough awareness of the future that climate change will bring, Yokohama has secured a spot on this year’s A List for its transparency as well as its climate action,” CDP said.

 

Lying on the southeastern coast of Japan’s main island, Honshu, and on the banks of the volatile Tsurumi River, Yokahama is particularly focused on flooding.

 

The city has seen unprecedented flooding since 1958’s Typhoon Ida, affecting more than 20,000 households. The foundations of the city have been built around this reality but climate change is compounding the issue, causing more frequent and extreme weather events and exacerbating flooding in the city.

 

In October 2019 when Japan hosted the Rugby World Cup, attracting more than a million visitors, images of the city lashed by torrential rain highlighted the challenge. Hit by Typhoon Hagibis, 110,000 rescue workers were deployed to salvage survivors from the wreckage.

 

Flood-resistant stadium

 

Yokohama’s infrastructure must provide both day-to-day services and protection to citizens.

 

One example is the International Stadium Yokohama, which can hold 70,000 people. Built on stilts, the stadium’s foundations allow floodwater to flow beneath. Its gates open to the rest of the Tsurumi River Multipurpose Retarding Basin. Developed as part of the overall flood control measures, the basin stores stormwater, while also providing a recreational space with its athletic field and green space.

 

Adapting to the ‘new normal’

 

A representative from Keihin River Office, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, said: "The Tsurumi River Multipurpose Retarding Basin was constructed as a facility which stores floodwater for a while in order to reduce damage caused by floods. The retarding basin, and other infrastructure, has been engineered to withstand current and predicted rainfall, a hard example of adapting to the new normal climate change presents.”

 

The city’s main roads are also built either on top of embankments or at elevation, providing further adaptation to stormwater flooding.

 

Involving citizens

 

Yokahama’s climate action plan encourages citizens to take an active role in building resilience against climate change. Citizens are expected to take measures to protect their own life and property as well as to help each other, and a suite of training and resources are offered to help people do this.

 

At Smart City Expo World Congress in November, Shuhei Okuno, deputy director-general, climate change, City of Yokohama, told SmartCitiesWorld that in addressing climate change, “the biggest power for us is people".

 

The city has also developed a flood hazard map for each of its 18 wards, providing updates on incoming rainfall and extreme weather alerts. In addition, it has listed all extreme weather and earthquake evacuation shelters on its website as well as in a pocket guide for people unable to return home in the event of extreme flooding.

 

The Retarding Basin Operation Centre holds events to raise public awareness on how to respond to extreme weather and to date, around 420,000 people have visited the centre. Local communities are also visited by a disaster preparedness caravan, offering education on flood risk in their area.

 

Yokohama’s infrastructure must provide both day-to-day services and protection to citizens.

 

“Yokohama has been adapting to and mitigating against the impact of urbanisation and climate change on the Tsurumi River for over half a century an endeavour that has ramped up as the country and global community seek to answer questions on how to create the climate-safe future we need," a statement from CDP said.

 

"For Yokohama City, investing in infrastructure that defends the city and its community, and empowering citizens with the knowledge they need to adapt to the impacts of global warming are fundamental steps towards creating a city that can keep flourishing in the face of climate change."

 

See Yokohama’s full disclosure response.

 

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