Cities increasingly measure and report key environmental data such as their emissions, climate-related vulnerabilities, and actions to reduce emissions and adapt to risks. Those that report this data to CDP are scored ‘A’ to ‘D’ – based on the completeness and quality of their data, and the level of action they have taken.
To score an A, a city must have a city-wide emissions inventory, have set an emissions reduction target, published a climate action plan and have completed a climate adaptation plan to show how it will tackle climate hazards now and in the future.
CDP says that on average cities on the A List are taking more than three times as many climate actions as those not on the A List, including five times as many actions to cut emissions and curb future warming, and twice as many to adapt to current climate hazards, from flooding to extreme heatwaves.
“Climate science leaves no doubt that global emissions must be halved by 2030 to limit the effects of the global climate crisis. Cities play a crucial role in meeting this challenge: covering just 2% of the earth’s surface, they are the source of 70% of emissions”, commented Kyra Appleby, Global Director of Cities, States and Regions at CDP. “These 105 cities are setting an example for the level of transparency and action we need from cities worldwide. We call on cities across the globe to share their climate actions and strategies, and work to join the ranks of the A List.”
Examples of city climate leadership include:
• Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA: One of 125 city signatories of the “We Are Still In” agreement, Fayetteville has committed to convert all facilities to 100% renewable energy by 2030, and reduce emissions 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.
• Greater Manchester, UK: The city set the target to become carbon neutral by 2038 – 12 years ahead of the UK government’s nationwide target – in a move that requires it to cut emissions by 15% a year. The city is working to add at least an extra 45MW of locally generated and renewable electricity to the grid by 2024.
• eThekwini, South Africa: The municipality that includes the city of Durban is aiming for 40% renewable electricity by 2030 and for 70% of private electricity demand to be supplied by self-generated renewable energy by 2050. To make this technology accessible, eThekwini has launched a number of solar energy and energy efficiency programs, such as a GIS-based solar map and framework that will make it easier for residents to plan rooftop installations. The authority is also set to require buildings to be retrofitted with energy efficient technologies by 2030, and all new buildings to be net zero carbon by the same date.
• Petaling Jaya, Malaysia: In 2011, the city of Petaling Jaya launched a low carbon tax assessment scheme that provides tax rebates to residents who implement low carbon building retrofit measures and make more sustainable lifestyle choices such as ownership of hybrid/electric vehicles. Since its inception the project has cut reductions by around 200tCO2e per annum. The only local council in Asia to launch such an incentive for homeowners, the Petaling Jaya Homeowners Low Carbon and Green Initiative has waived more than $100,000 for 1,240 households in the city up to 2018.
50 percent or more of driving trips are three miles or less in many cities. As part of a study of trip making to and from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, SSTI found that “nearly 40 percent of car trips originate from within a few miles.”