A new report has found that if all cities of 100,000 people or more halve their emissions by 2030 after peaking in 2020, the world would achieve 40% of the emissions reductions that are necessary to keep global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
This is the key finding from a new report published this week by C40 Cities, the global network of 91 of the world’s largest cities which are all committed to climate action on their own, regardless of their national government’s intentions. The new report, Deadline 2020: How Cities Will Get the Job Done, “presents a detailed pathway of what C40 cities need to do to play their part in converting the COP21 Paris Agreement from aspiration into reality.” And the timing of the release of the report couldn’t be any better, considering US President Donald Trump’s announcement last week to initiate the withdrawal of the United States from the very same Paris Agreement.
The report concludes that megacities must ensure that their emissions peak by 2020, and then move to halve their carbon emissions for every citizen in a decade — from an average of 5 tons CO2e per capita today to 3 tons CO2e per capita by 2030.
It’s definitely a lofty goal, but the outcome could be worth the effort, According to C40, “If all cities of 100,000 people or more act on the recommendations in the report, the world will achieve 40% of the emissions reductions necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.” The report also, ironically, shows that if all US cities “pursue deep, rapid emissions reductions,” that by 2025 they could contribute more than a third of the emissions reductions necessary to meet the United States commitment to the Paris Agreement.
Of course, in his fallacy and mistruth-laden speech, Donald Trump also revealed that while he will work to withdraw from the Paris Agreement according to the timeframe outlined in the Agreement, the United States will nevertheless “cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.
“This includes ending the implementation of the nationally determined contribution and, very importantly, the Green Climate Fund which is costing the United States a vast fortune.”
What Donald Trump was not aware of, however — though there was ample evidence to make such a conclusion — is that his plans to withdraw the country from the Paris Agreements is not only not a popular decision with voters, but is also not a popular decision with the mayors of US cities. Most satisfyingly, the William Peduto, mayor of Pittsburgh — a city Trump referenced in his speech, boasting that he was “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris” — on Friday issued an executive order ordering the city to commit to the Paris Climate Accords.
“For decades Pittsburgh has been rebuilding its economy based on hopes for our people and our future, not on outdated fantasies about our past,” Mayor Peduto said. “The City and its many partners will continue to do the same, despite the President’s imprudent announcements yesterday.”
Mayor Peduto was not alone, either, as we discuss here.
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