Cities and Climate Acion

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Cities and towns of diverse sizes and economic standings are registering more climate commitments, actions and performance – and are generally more ambitious than their national governments.

In its November 2013 report, the carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR) announced that 414 cities registered over 4,000 climate actions which are either completed or in progress until 2020. 63% of the reduction commitments are above 1% per year, exceeding the value of even the most ambitious national governments under the Kyoto Protocol.

Opening the ADP workshop on urbanization at the ongoing United Nations Warsaw Climate Conference, ICLEI Advocacy Head Yunus Arikan shares the vision of local climate action raising the global level of ambition and underlines concrete proposals that could feed into negotiations leading to a global emissions deal in Paris in 2015.

“This unique ADP workshop arrives in a perfect timing in terms of responding to challenges brought about by growing urbanization. I am particularly convinced that multi-level governance, with emphasis on the strengthened role of cities, will turn challenges into opportunities,” Arikan explains. He adds that the new cCCR results show that “cities are ambitious and are actively delivering climate actions that the world can count on.”

The cCCR’s latest count reveals data from 414 cities and local authorities with a combined population of 438 million, covering community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of more than 2.2. gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year (G tCO2e/pa).

Breaking down the reported data, these advanced cities have reported a total of 836 climate and energy commitments (showing their targets), 770 GHG inventories (showing they are monitoring progress) and 4208 mitigation and adaptation actions (showing they are acting).

Topping the list of city leaders is Vancouver in Canada. Vancouver was named Earth Hour Capital early this year for its outstanding climate actions, which includes a comprehensive climate change adaptation strategy and projects on resilience-building, green jobs, eco-friendly means of transport and urban food security.

Meanwhile the City of Buenos Aires in Argentina performed excellently in the emissions reductions front and in ensuring the transparency of its low emissions pathway. The city achieved significant emissions cut through its strict building code, which drastically improved the efficiency of its government buildings by 40%.

Generally, climate commitments are short to come by. Aiming to spark higher level of ambitions from other local and national governments, European Green Capital Copenhagen unveiled plans of a carbon-neutral city by 2030, through programs such as energy recycling from exhaust air, policies on energy certification, eco-transport and eco-house building, among many others.

Impressed by the advanced climate actions of these cities, ICLEI President David Cadman remarked in his recent Nordic Cities tour: “Cities like Oslo, Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen can serve as role models for how local authorities can accelerate the transition towards low-carbon and resilient development.”

“This is the moment in Warsaw to get a really serious timetable and structure to get a really meaningful agreement in Paris”, he added. Cadman will be traveling to Warsaw this week to attend the inaugural 21 November Cities Day of the UNFCCC high level segment and other cities’ related events.

ICLEI is the leading local authorities network addressing sustainable development. Since 2010, it has been operating the cCCR, the world’s largest database of local climate action through the voluntary reporting pursuant to political commitments (i.e. signatories of Mexico City Pact), capacity building efforts at the national level (i.e. Japan Registry, PACMUN Project in Mexico and Urban-LEDS Project in Brazil, India, Indonesia, S. Africa), and by creating incentives (i.e. WWF Earth Hour City Challenge implemented in 15 countries). 

Further graphs and data can be found in the newly released 2013 cCCR Report: bit.ly/1e5yLun

Visit cCCR for more information at www.citiesclimateregistry.org 

Photo Credit: Cities and Climate Action/shutterstock