COP21: Initiatives at the urban level will be key to driving down emission levels

Alongside the Lima-Paris Action Agenda which is developing into a major force driving climate action, coordinated action at the city level will have an important impact on urban emission levels.

Through the ‘Compact of Mayors’, more than 360 cities have committed to cut their emissions by 17% before 2030.

At COP21 the leaders of the world’s major cities announced that the collective impact of their commitments will deliver over half of the world’s potential urban emissions reductions by 2020.

Cities are home to 3.5 billion of the world’s population and urban areas play a crucial role in combating global climate change.

Urban residents already account for 70% of global carbon emissions and the global urban population will almost double by 2050.

Under the Compact of Mayors, cities will complete four steps: joining the Compact; measuring and reporting on their greenhouse gas emissions; setting targets to reduce future emissions; and creating a plan explaining how they will achieve their targets. Once a city meets these four requirements, it becomes compliant with the Compact of Mayors.

The popularity of the Compact shows that city leaders are increasingly recognising that shifting to a low-emissions pathway is not only in the best interest of the planet, but that it will improve the health of their citizens, increase efficiency and lead to economic benefits.

Around the world, cities are taking steps such as transforming their transportation sectors, changing building sustainability requirements, and prioritizing investment in renewable energy infrastructure.

Heavily polluted Rio de Janeiro (photo) is the first city to become fully compliant with the Compact of Mayors

Further information

Compact of Mayors (website)



December 11, 2015
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