Cities have the potential to effectively cut the equivalent of global coal use by more than half by 2050, according to a new report published by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. By using better energy-management at the local level, cities could wipe out 8 gigatons of carbon emissions by 2050, going a long way toward initiating the reductions necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to limit global warming to only 2 degrees.
The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a network of the world’s megacities taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, released the report Tuesday, which showed that if all cities “took on aggressive new efforts to reduce building, transportation and waste energy use,” they could reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly over the next 15- to 35-years.
“Cities are key players in the global fight against climate change – and this research measures, for the first time, the huge difference they can make together,” said UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg. “Despite the progress they are making, and their potential to do much more, cities are rarely included in national climate plans. This research can help change that – and encourage nations to set higher goals for reducing emissions – by showing how much their cities can contribute.”
Not only does this research help increase the focus on what cities can do to limit global warming, but it is also the first time all cities’ collective potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been quantified.
A C40-made infographic is available at the end of this article, clearly outlining the work cities can do to minimise greenhouse gas emissions going forward.
The research makes note of the incredible power local mayors have to influence local policies, and identify key areas where mayors have the greatest control over policies which could have an incredible impact on greenhouse gas emissions. They are:
- Building energy efficiency standards for new urban buildings;
- Building energy retrofits for existing urban buildings;
- Aggressive energy performance standards for urban building lighting and appliances; and
- Transportation mode shifts and transit efficiency for city residents
“From Rio to Seoul, mayors are not waiting to take decisive action to combat global climate change and prepare for the ill effects it will bring,” said C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) Chair and Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes . “We are forging ahead with innovative solutions that make our cities better, safer places to live and work. Leading mayors are setting the example for the rest of the world, and this new research shows what could be achieved if all cities and our national governments now followed suit. ”
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