C40 cities set short-term targets to limit climate change

While President Trump and his administration attempt to shut down all reference to climate change, the rest of the world is gearing up for discussions at COP23 next month that will set the scene for the international effort under the COP21 Paris Agreement to rein in global warming and attempt to reduce its anticipated impacts.

The United States is now the only UN country not participating in the Paris Agreement, after Nicaragua formally lodged its accession to the Agreement this week.

Twelve major cities including London, Paris, Los Angeles, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle and Auckland have undertaken to buy only zero-emissions buses from 2025 and to make major areas free of fossil fuel emissions by 2030.

The twelve cities, with a combined population of almost 80 million, said they would promote walking, cycling and the use of public transport under a joint “fossil-fuel-free streets declaration”.

The agreement was signed this week at the first event of Together4Climate (C40), a network of 91 cities (including Melbourne and Sydney) committed to addressing climate change.

The C40 recently released a report, Deadline 2020: how cities will get the job done, which presents a detailed pathway of what C40 cities need to do to play their part in converting the Paris Agreement from aspiration into reality.

The report finds that the next four years will determine whether or not the world’s megacities can deliver their part of the ambition of the Paris Agreement.

“Without action by cities the Paris Agreement can not realistically be delivered. The business-as-usual path of C40 cities’ emissions needs to ‘bend’ from an increase of 35% by 2020, to peak at only a further 5% higher than current emissions. This “bending of the curve” is required now to ensure that in the coming decades the necessary reductions remain feasible, given that actions can take many years to mature and reach full scale.”

The urgency for cities to take action identified in the C40 report, and likely to be reinforced at COP23, has major implications for Australian cities and for leaders at all levels of government and business.

This will be a focus of the inaugural Climate Leadership Conference to be held in Sydney in March next year.

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