As the international climate negotiations get underway this week in Paris, leaders across all sectors are beginning to explore the most effective ways in which to make a meaningful difference on climate. One area particularly ripe for climate action is within cities. Accounting for a majority of the world’s population, and likewise a majority of the globes energy use and greenhouse gas emissions—cities are logical components of any strategy to act on climate.
While the need for action in cities is apparent, many municipal leaders struggle to identify the best and most effective avenues for action. This search is now made easier—as five actions that can save the greatest amounts of CO2 emissions have been identified in a recent report issued by C40, a coalition of cities working together to bring about positive changes. These include:
- Putting restrictions on personal vehicle usage
- Improving bus and rapid-transit systems
- Entering into long-term contracts with renewable energy providers
- Incentivizing energy efficient appliances in private residential housing
- Facilitating landfill gas management
While it is never easy to implement bold changes, the C40 report identifies strategies that all cities can implement to pursue climate solutions. Want to get your city more involved in climate action? Come join with a broad coalition of municipal leaders all working on a Path to Positive Communities.
Ahead of the landmark UN climate talks in Paris next week, 174 countries have filed pledges outlining how far they will go to reduce carbon emissions. These plans will be crucial in determining the outcome of the conference, which aims to create a universal agreement to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius—the point beyond which scientists believe climate change will be irrevocably catastrophic.
The pledges represent a huge step forward for the planet. For the first time, almost every country is now taking climate change seriously and investing meaningfully in mitigations. But these national pledges are not enough, on their own, to keep the planet’s thermometer from rising beyond that dangerous threshold.
To get there, cities will need to step up, too. An enormous progress report from C40, the global network of megacity mayors fighting climate change, is an important reminder that local tactics can translate on the global scale.