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22 Actions Cities Can Take To Move Toward Climate Neutrality & See Results In A Year

The Rocky Mountain Institute has published a new report at COP23 which provides cities around the world with “22 ready-to-implement, no-regrets solutions that have proven success” that will help move them toward climate neutrality and provide results within a year. 

The Rocky Mountain Institute has published a new report at COP23 which provides cities around the world with “22 ready-to-implement, no-regrets solutions that have proven success” that will help move them toward climate-neutrality and provide results within a year.

In what sounds more like a quick-and-easy-self-help book, the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has published The Carbon-Free City Handbook with support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, in which it outlines the aforementioned “22 ready-to-implement, no-regrets solutions that have proven success” that, according to the Handbook, “help cities become carbon free.”

The Handbook provides 22 recommendations spread out across five sections — Buildings, Transportation and Mobility, Electricity, Industry, and Biological Resources. They include everything from retrofitting city buildings, fleet electrification, smart LED streetlights, efficient motors, and organic waste diversion.

With more than 7,000 cities from all around the world committed to addressing climate change, and nearly 600 cities — representing 444 million people — making commitments to the Compact of Mayors, the Handbook will be an invaluable tool for cities already on the low-carbon path, those just beginning, and those looking to understand the impacts and possibilities.

“Together, cities around the world can have a meaningful and substantial impact on one of the most pressing challenges — and opportunities — that we will face in our lifetimes and for generations to come,” said Gregor Robertson, mayor of the City of Vancouver.

The recommendations aren’t picked out of the blue, either, but represent the work and recommendations of more than 50 city leaders and sustainability directors, and relevant for almost any city with a population in excess of 100,000. The report also includes case studies from a variety of diverse cities across six continents — including, Frankfurt, Germany; Santa Monica, California; Dublin, Ireland; Wuhan, China; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Alappuzha, India; Vancouver, Canada, and Barcelona, Spain.

“Cities can get dragged down into endless planning and measurement. Yes, metrics matter. But, ambitious actions matter more,” said Jacob Corvidae, a manager at RMI and coauthor of the handbook. “This handbook helps cities move to action faster. Don’t wait for plans to be completed when you can get moving on meaningful actions now.”

The five areas across which the authors of the report constricted their recommendations are similarly well-chosen, as detailed below:

  1. Buildings, which contribute an average of 48% to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in large cities
  2. Transportation and mobility, which account for an average of 36% of GHG emissions in large cities
  3. Electricity, which accounts for 25% of urban GHG emissions from all sectors
  4. Industry, which accounts for an average of 7% of GHG emissions in large cities, and often much more
  5. Biological resources, which can contribute to reduction in waste and account for 7% of GHG emissions on average in large cities while providing new carbon sink opportunities

The Carbon-Free City Handbook is available at

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