More cities join the efforts to manage emissions and build resilience

It is encouraging to see how cities are increasingly embracing the need to take measures to lower the impact from global warming. There is a good article on the CDP website about recent developments that are most encouraging.


Unprecedented global rise in cities disclosing climate strategies

A record number of cities are now measuring and disclosing environmental data on an annual basis in order to manage emissions, build resilience, and protect themselves from the growing impacts of climate change. 533 cities globally representing 621 million citizens reported the actions they’re taking on climate to the non-profit CDP this year, a rise of 70% from 2015.

There has been a nearly four-fold increase in the number of cities in Africa disclosing climate information to CDP, from 12 to 46, since the adoption of the global climate deal by 195 countries in Paris last year. Accra, Kisumu and Mazabuka are among the cities disclosing data for the first time. Many new cities are from the least developed countries in Africa such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Uganda.

With their citizens directly facing climate change-related impacts, including from increased infrastructure damage and rise in water-borne diseases, African cities are seeking greater levels of support in managing climate strategies. Lorna Omuodo (Chief Officer, Green Energy and Climate Change) from the City of Kisumu in Kenya, which disclosed for the first time this year, says: “Climate change poses a serious threat to the wealth and wellbeing of our city. Delaying action will be costly, which is why we are taking steps now to ensure we build resilience in Kisumu. CDP is the best initiative on climate change I have seen in a long time because it is focused on practical actions.”

Increasing awareness of climate risks means more cities are undertaking a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, a basic first step for any organization seeking to understand its climate impact. In 2011, one in ten cities reported undertaking a citywide emissions inventory, now four in ten cities report doing so. More detail on disclosed citywide emissions can be found in CDP’s open data portal.

Patricia Espinosa, the new Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, says: “This is welcome and encouraging news as governments continue to ratify the Paris Climate Change Agreement and work to implement it in full. On NAZCA, the UNFCCC’s online climate action portal, many cities have registered their climate action pledges and are blazing an ambitious trail.

When cities measure their climate footprint and seek a sustainable path to green growth powered by clean energy, they take us all further towards the global transition to low emissions and resilient development. I also commend CDP for its role as a key provider of data to the NAZCA portal. I congratulate cities taking action and encourage everyone to use NAZCA to showcase their climate commitments.”

Other regions are capitalizing on the benefits of disclosure:

  • Europe has had an 83% increase in cities reporting, to 126 across 32 countries. Many cities across Eastern Europe are reporting for the first time.
  • In North America there has been a 72% increase to 131 cities using CDP’s disclosure platform. Twenty-eight of the top 30 US cities by population now disclose to CDP, representing 38 million people. Disclosure by Canadian cities doubled in 2016 aided by a commitment from Canadian Big City Mayors to disclose to CDP as part of efforts to cut emissions.
  • Latin America saw a 51% increase in cities disclosing, with 136 cities sharing data this year. Over half of these cities are in Brazil, including hosts of this year’s Olympics, Rio de Janeiro who are disclosing for the fifth time through CDP.
  • The Asia-Pacific region has seen a rise of nearly a third since 2015 and includes first -time disclosers such as Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s largest city, Guangzhou, one of China’s most populous cities, and Bangalore and Kolkata.

Paul Dickinson, executive chairman of CDP, says: “We are thrilled to have so many new cities, in particular from the developing world, share their climate strategies through CDP for the first time. Disclosing environmental information fuels awareness that in turn helps city leaders plan, finance and build low-carbon resilient cities. You cannot manage what you do not measure, and this year city leaders around the world are sending a clear message that they are ready and able to take on the global climate challenge.”

The City of Adelaide is disclosing for the second time in the Asia-Pacific region. Adelaide’s Lord Mayor Martin Haese says, “Strong growth in cities reporting environment data is a clear signal that CDP provides much needed global visibility to those who are preparing for the impacts of climate change and reducing their carbon footprint.

The City of Adelaide works in close partnership with the Government of South Australia and we share a commitment for zero net carbon emissions in Adelaide by 2025. Our signing of the Compact of Mayors and Compact of States and Regions in Paris at COP 21 further cements our shared commitment to limit global temperature increase to well below two degrees Celsius.”

The City of Las Vegas is also disclosing for the fifth time through CDP’s cities program. The City of Las Vegas’ Mayor Carolyn G Goodman says: “The city of Las Vegas is committed to sustainability and has set a goal to be 100 percent powered by renewable energy. We see real value in that conversation being transparent and open. That is why disclosing through CDP was a natural fit for us and why we are excited about hosting a CDP workshop for cities in October.”

Antha Williams, Environment Team Lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies, who support CDP’s cities program, says: “Building off the historic Paris Agreement, it’s promising to see over 500 global cities reporting emissions and climate risks to the CDP platform. By transparently reporting to CDP, cities are measuring progress and staying accountable. This, coupled with the recent launch of the new Global Covenant of Mayors of Climate & Energy co-chaired by Michael R. Bloomberg, will continue to drive demand for transparent and high quality city reporting to better measure where we are and where we should be to move action against climate change.”

The trend of increased transparency is also reflected in the world’s mega-cities, with 90% of C40 cities disclosing in 2016.

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