C40 Climate Leadership Group (C40)
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: C40 Climate Leadership Group (C40)
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Technology (1 hits),

Full Submission

An 'Alternative Approach for Cities'

C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Submission to Rio+20


1) Today, over half of the worldˇ¦s population lives in cities, a share that is likely to reach 75 per cent in 2050

2) Cities and urban areas currently account for over two-thirds of the worldˇ¦s energy consumption and account for 70 per cent of global C02 emissions. The world's 50 largest cities generate about 2.6 billion t CO2e annually, more than all countries, except the United States and China.

3) The urban population is expected to double by 2030 and the global built-up area is expected to triple during the same period. Massive construction of buildings and infrastructure in developing countries will lock in conventional energy efficiency and GHG emissions for many decades to come. Poorly managed cities exacerbate enormous new demands for energy and infrastructure investment. It is a big challenge for sustainable development to shift buildings and infrastructure to low emission and it should be the first priority in a green economy.

4) In order to establish sustainable societies, and truly mitigate against the impacts of global climate change, it is crucial to shift every aspect of the society to low carbon. This 'Paradigm shift' to a low carbon society creates new investment, new consumption and new jobs. The construction of low carbon cities will form a large portion of the green economy. It will spur investment and entrepreneurialism, foster new technologies and innovations, increase income through reforming the economy and improve the human habitat. Cities and societies are still dependent on energy and natural resources from distant locations. The future indicates an increase of local energy generation and smarter grids to improve efficiency. Cities will be the engine that fuels a green economy and thus are a major stakeholder in sustainable development.

5) Cities have emerged as a leading force for global action on climate change. With global protocols and treaties unable to bring about significant reforms, cities are strongly positioned to generate real change, and in fact are already taking significant action. The facts on the ground bear up: Rio, New York, Sao Paulo, London, Tokyo and Jakarta are just some of the worldˇ¦s megacities that are working to transform their policies and infrastructure to improve energy efficiency and other resource use. While national treaties and global protocols have struggled to generate meaningful change, cities continue to have an impact.

6) A greener economy demands actions to promote economic growth with social inclusion. Informal settlements and disorganised urban sprawling are two of the major challenges from urbanisation with a large impact on the health of the population and the environment. Effective policies to promote sustainable development will come alongside improving the standard of living for all city inhabitants. As such, this is not only a matter of addressing climate change and promoting economic growth. These actions also have a significant impact on the general public health.

C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

7) The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) is a network of large and engaged cities from around the world committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate policies and actions locally that will help address climate change globally. 40 large cities and 18 other cities are working together to exchange ideas in order to accelerate climate actions. The C40 has developed networks of cities to work together on key areas such as energy efficiency, waste, water, transportation and adaptation and to hold workshops and seminars to exchange best practice. A biennial mayoral summit convenes member cities to discuss the implementation of new initiatives and opportunities for further collaboration. The summit allows cities to work together on implementing meaningful climate change solutions. This cooperative approach leverages the best practices and lessons learned by cities that are taking action.

8) C40 cities are already taking significant climate action. A recent survey showed that C40 cities across the world have taken 4,734 climate related actions to date. Over 80% of these actions were taken initiated after participating cities joined the C40. Additional key findings were;

* C40 Mayors and Governors lead by example, retrofitting municipally-owned buildings and vehicles

* C40 Mayors and Governors are leveraging powers over buildings to reduce energy demand and encourage distributed renewable energy supply generation

* 75% of C40 Mayors and Governors have direct and strong powers over city roads, where on average 35% of emissions occur

* In addition to the 4,734 climate related actions already taken 1,465 more were under consideration.


Energy demand in buildings - Energy efficiency retrofit programmes have been implemented for existing buildings in 20 cities. Installing energy efficient light bulbs or other smart lighting mechanisms is the one of the most popular programmes. 12 cities have implemented Building Rating and Reporting programmes for existing buildings to set standards in order to create a market for energy efficient building. A city-wide cap-and-trade program is also being implemented to motivate public and commercial buildings to invest in energy efficiency. 15 cities are introducing Building Standards for energy efficiency for new buildings which is very effective for constructing a low carbon city.

Transportation - 10 Cities have already delivered bus rapid transit systems. Of the 16 mayors with direct power over 1.4 million taxis, 4 mayors are piloting electric taxis and 5 are taking policy measures to introduce hybrid taxis. 22 mayors have taken action to improve the cycling infrastructure starting with over 9,370 km of cycle lanes.,

Waste management - 12 mayors are implementing waste to energy facilities within their cities, harnessing existing resources and utilising powers in creative ways; and 13 have programs to capture methane gas emitted from their landfills.

Green Economy

9) Through the actions already being taken by the C40 cities, low carbon investment and consumption are already being promoted, and these will play a key role in stimulating a green economy. These actions will create new jobs, improve the human habitat and contribute to reducing poverty in developing and emerging countries.

10) The leading actions that cities are already taking ahead of nations will demonstrate what a low carbon society is like and how a green economy creates our future. Cities are already demonstrating models that realise emission reductions and economic growth at the same time. The programmes foster understanding among developing and emerging countries and help us to achieve international agreement on a framework for climate change solutions.

11) While international negotiations struggle, global warming proceeds day by day. The endeavour to achieve international agreement for new climate change framework is needed; however, we need an 'alternative approach' to address climate change as well; we should make cities go first.

Therefore, the C40 calls on international society for the following;

* International society should recognise the importance of cities' role in combating climate change and adopt a new concept of alternative approach to make cities lead the way. To tackle climate change and mitigate its effects also leads to an increase in the well being of citizens all over the world. The outcome of Rio+20 should include clear statements that emphasise cities' role.

* United nations and international financial organisations should develop programmes for low carbon financing designated for cities' low carbon and sustainable projects. Also they should develop programmes to share the advanced efforts of cities with the world and support international cooperation between cities.

* Technology transfer should be facilitated, with sufficient funding commitments given to cities in developing countries, so that they can achieve sustainable human development by making progress in developing renewable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency.

* National government, financial institutions and business entities should work together to develop finance models that are aimed at financing longer-term sustainable infrastructure projects in cities.

* Representatives of cities and local governments should have an official seat in the new international negotiating platform for sustainable development and should participate in the design process of the Green Economy Roadmap.

* The new UN organisation to be established for sustainable development should have a division that supports, coordinates and optimises the climate actions of cities.

* The "toolbox" of the best practices of citiesˇ¦ climate actions should be developed. The C40 can contribute by providing best practices of C40 cities

* The new UN organisation to be established for sustainable development should have a division that supports, coordinates and optimises the climate change actions of cities.

For more information about the C40, please visit C40.com
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