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New report from Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy finds a 60% surge in annual potential emissions reduction across cities and local governments
9 December 2019, Madrid –– Today, at the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) and its alliance of partners released Climate Emergency: Unlocking the Urban Opportunity Together, a report showcasing the collective impact of commitments across its 10,239 cities and local governments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
If fully realized, GCoM 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 U.S., China, France, Mexico, Russia, and Argentina combined. This potential is an incredible 60% increase from 2018, the direct result of both ambitious commitments from 9,149 cities and 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.
At the same time, cities are even now experiencing severe climate events that impact people, economies, and physical environments. The report finds 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 of our citizens will feel ever growing impacts on health and wellbeing, forced migration, business relocation, reduced productivity and interruption of supply chains.
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. In partnership with national governments – a core principle of the GCoM alliance – even more is possible. National governments can help to harness the opportunities found in transitioning to zero-carbon and climate resilient cities, and provide the critical support needed to accelerate action. In doing so, nations will strengthen global progress towards the Paris Agreement goals while protecting the health and prosperity of citizens.
This new report reinforces the need for national governments and cities to seize the urban opportunity together. As the COP25 proceedings advance, national governments are exploring approaches to meet the Paris Climate Agreement. More would be possible if six priority actions were adopted in support of urban climate potential:
- Develop an overarching strategy to deliver shared prosperity while reaching net-zero emissions – and place cities at its 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,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, Global Covenant Co-Chair and Co-Founder. “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.”
Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and Board Member of the Global Covenant of Mayors said: “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. 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.
“Climate change is a global problem with a local solution,” said Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Mayor of Accra and Board Member of the Global Covenant of Mayors. “When 10,000 cities speak and act with one voice, the result is felt across countries and continents. This report shows city leaders what we can make happen on a global scale with the right mindset and resources.”
To learn more about the aggregate impact of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, please visit the Global Covenant of Mayors’ impact website to read and download the full report released at COP25.
About the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM)
GCoM is the largest global alliance for city climate leadership, uniting a global coalition of over 10,000 cities and local governments. The cities and partners of GCoM share a long-term vision of supporting voluntary action to combat climate change and towards a resilient and low-emission society. GCoM serves cities and local governments by mobilizing and supporting ambitious, measurable, planned climate and energy action in their communities by working with city/regional networks, national governments and other partners to achieve our vision. The coalition comprises cities across 6 continents and 132 countries, representing over 800 million people or more than 10% of the global population.
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