A total of 43 cities — including Barcelona, London, Paris, Cape Town, and Hong Kong — populate a new “A List” ranking cities’ action to cut emissions and set climate strategies published this week by environmental impact non-profit CDP to celebrate the start of EU Green Week.
CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) published its new Cities A List on Monday at the start of EU Green Week, ranking a total of 496 cities from around the globe on their climate leadership and action. Of the total number of cities included in the ranking, 43 cities, or 7%, were graded an “A” score for their action to cut emissions and set climate strategies.
The list includes big name cities such as Barcelona, London, Paris, Cape Town, and Hong Kong, as well as other less-prominent cities such as Reykjavík, Iceland; Arlington, Virginia, and Emeryville, California, in the United States; and Kaohsiung City in Taiwan.
In addition to the “A” ranking, CDP highlighted the extra effort being made by these cities. A total of 14 cities are currently aiming to be climate or carbon neutral by 2050 — including The Hague (set for 2030), Boston (2050), Melbourne (2020), and Sydney (which has been carbon neutral since 2007) — while 5 cities have city-wide 100% renewable energy targets — including Paris (currently at 35%), San Francisco (59%), Minneapolis (24%), and Canberra (which is aiming to be 100% renewable by 2020), while Reykjavík has already reached its 100% goal.
“The need for action on climate change has never been more urgent, as the latest report from the IPCC has warned,” said Kyra Appleby, Global Director for Cities, States and Regions at CDP. “Cities house more than half of the world’s population and are responsible for over 70% of the world’s energy-related carbon emissions, so they could make or break efforts to tackle climate change.”
“Just 7% of cities who reported to CDP in 2018 received an A. We urge cities worldwide to step up their action, set targets in line with what the latest science says is needed to prevent dangerous climate change, and transparently share their progress.”
The cities ranked are those reporting through CDP’s environmental disclosure platform, which currently boasts over 625 cities (though only 596 were scored). Awarded an “A” through to “D” based on how effectively they are managing, measuring, and tackling greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate-related risks (including water security), cities awarded the highest grade are demonstrating strong climate adaptation and mitigation strategies and are consistently tracking its emissions. However, leading action looks different depending on where in the world you are, the size of your city, the size of its emissions, and its susceptibility to extreme weather events. CDP highlights a sample of its A List cities below:
- London: introduced an ultra-low emissions zone on April 8, 2019, this sees drivers with older, more polluting cars paying more to drive in central London in a bid to clean up the city’s air.
- Calgary: is building a new light rail system aptly named the Green Line, The first stage will be completed in 2026 and is expected cut 30,000 tonnes of CO2e from the city’s traffic emissions every year, the equivalent of taking more than 23,000 cars off the road each year.
- The Hague: in its seaside resort of Scheveningen, the city has built a new waterfront boulevard. Invisible to the average citizen, a kilometer-long dike can be found beneath the boulevard, offering another layer of protection from coastal flooding.
- Taipei: tackling drought is a top priority for the city which has fixed 2,200 water leaks saving 613,300 tonnes of water per year since 2015.
“Calgary has been a leader on climate action for over a decade now,” said Warren Brooke, Business Strategist at Calgary’s Climate Change Program. “We’ve been at the forefront across the province and the country, piloting strategies to reduce our emissions and increase our resilience. Making CDP’s A List in 2018 has been a great recognition of our work to date.”
“Across the world and the United States, cities are stepping up their ambition to reduce emissions, embrace renewables and adapt to risks exacerbated by climate change,” added Kelly Shultz, Director of the American Cities Climate Challenge at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “We are proud that six winners of Bloomberg’s American Cities Climate Challenge made CDP’s cities A List, demonstrating climate progress. The success of climate action relies on bold action from global cities and CDP’s cities A List highlights replicable actions already taking place in cities worldwide.”