775 cities in 16 countries back ‘climate emergency’ call

775 cities in 16 countries back ‘climate emergency’ call

The latest research from the Crowther Lab predicts that Madrid’s climate in 2050 will resemble Marrakech’s climate today, Stockholm will resemble Budapest, London will be more like Barcelona, and Tokyo’s climate will more closely resemble Changsha’s.

In addition, 22 % of cities will experience climate conditions that are not currently experienced by any existing major cities, the study finds.

The reality of climate change is increasingly being recognised by municipal authorities around the world, according to Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation in Action (Cedamia). As a result more than 775 jurisdictions globally have now declared a climate emergency. The Advocacy group ‘Climate Mobilization’ calculates that this covers parliaments in 16 countries.

And recently more cities, including ManchesterParisCologneSydney and the biggest city yet to join the movement, New York have recently declared ‘climate emergencies’ More are expected to make announcements soon.

Simon Hansen, director of regions, C40, a network of the world’s megacities collaborating to address climate change said: “For more than a decade it has been mayors of the world’s big cities that have been the most vocal political champions of bold climate action. They see the impact of the climate crisis affecting their citizens, often the most vulnerable in society, every day.

“So it is not at all surprising that mayors are taking the stark warnings from scientists and listening to the demands of young people protesting on the streets, and therefore declaring climate emergencies. I expect it will help to accelerate the pace of climate action already underway in cities, which is absolutely right and necessary.”

Through C40’s Deadline 2020 initiative, he notes, more than 100 cities around the world have committed to climate action plans to reduce emissions and keep global temperature rise below 1.5 °C. “So cities are delivering real change,” Hansen said.

Need for practical action

While climate emergency declarations don’t typically don’t contain specific policy measures on how to slow climate change, many cities and countries have targets already in place – such as becoming carbon-neutral by 2030 or even sooner – but in some cases, these plans have also been criticised for lacking concrete detail but acting like it’s a climate emergency is the important part.

Big cities are often trendsetters and as places where so many live and work, our cities have huge potential to make a difference on climate change. For example, we need to be seeing them backing measures that help people move from polluting cars to cycling and public transport.

There are frequently contradictions. Too often, we’ve seen cities declare an emergency and then back climate-wrecking policies like airport expansion.

Many cities are moving towards introducing an implementation plan.  The city of Bristol in the UK, for example, plans to be carbon neutral by 2030. The plan includes measures such as a 200 % increase in renewable energy; a target of 50,000 electric vehicles running in the city; retrofitting 7,000 homes every year to accelerate energy efficiency; and a trial to improve the business case for solar energy in social housing.

Cities can take action faster

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published by the United Nations in October 2018, concluded that allowing global temperature rise to exceed 1.5°C will disrupt basic social and economic activities around the world with the most extreme consequences for much of the population in the Global South.

summary of key findings from the IPCC report, compiled by the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and C40 Cities, concluded that cities have a “unique opportunity” to limit global temperature rise.

The report found that consistent action from cities is key because they concentrate opportunities to address many of the causes and impacts of climate change on a systemic level. It said city leaders can take action faster than other levels of government and that they can more easily innovate scalable solutions than other levels of government.

The United Nations warns that the world has less than 12 years left to limit climate change catastrophe.

Further information

 

July 17, 2019
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