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Cities will be key to a low carbon, resilient global economy able to address and adapt to climate change. Many are emerging as leaders cutting emissions and greening infrastructure. Photo ©Pline

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Transparent and Accountable Climate Action in Cities

Cities are an integral part of the solution in fighting climate change. Estimates suggest that cities are responsible for 75 percent of global CO2 emissions, with transport and buildings being among the largest contributors. In a significant development, more and more cities around the world are waking up to this fact and are taking up the challenge to go green.


Their efforts are captured in the carbonn Cities Climate Registry 2013 Annual Report, recently published by ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, which shows that both the scope and pace of local climate action is accelerating. The carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR) is the leading global reporting platform of local climate action and was launched at the World Mayors Summit on Climate in Mexico City in November 2010. It enables cities and local governments to demonstrate their power and potential to reduce climate risks and move towards global low-emissions and climate resilient development through the reporting of energy and climate commitments, greenhouse gas emissions as well as mitigation and adaptation actions.


The 2013 report follows the progress of the 51 pioneer cities that started reporting their climate data in 2011 and shares their contributions to measurable, reportable and verifiable climate action. Ten cities reported 100% emission reduction commitments and thirteen reported 100% renewable energy targets. Over a period of three years, this number increased to 422 local and subnational governments from 44 countries.

The cCCR annual reports are officially submitted to the annual UNFCCC Conference of the Parties through a broad coalition of local government networks known as the Local Government Climate Roadmap. This evidence-based information from cities and regions can inspire action at the global level.

The Peruvian city of Lima, which was among the first signatories of the Mexico City Pact, will host the next Conference of the Parties (COP 20) in December 2014.

Cape Town Wins Earth Hour City Challenge 2014


To celebrate what cities have already achieved in going green, the WWF set up the Earth Hour City Challenge, a year-long competition among cities to promote renewable energy and prepare for climate change. Cape Town, South Africa was awarded Global Earth Hour Capital 2014 for being a role model for other cities in the Global South with a showcase of replicable programmes and actions. UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres was on the international jury of experts that chose the winner.

Read joint press release by Gino Van Begin, Secretary-General of the global cities network ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg and Christiana Figueres.

Fifth International Mayors Summit

The 2014 C40 Mayors Summit held in collaboration with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group was held in Johannesburg, South Africa in February 2014 under the theme: "Towards resilient and liveable Megacities – demonstrating action, impact and opportunity". UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figures gave a keynote address on City Leadership and the International Climate Agenda Wednesday, and C40 issued a new report on how the world's megacities have the power to accelerate climate action on a transformative scale. View infographic.

Important work in the field of local action for global sustainability is also being carried out by a number of international organizations such as UN HABITAT, which has a climate friendly urban planning toolkit, as well as associations such as the Communitas Coalition and Climate Alliance, who are supporting cities in their efforts to become resource-efficient and low-carbon. See also the Joint Work Programme on cities and climate change between UNEP, the World Bank and UN-Habitat.

Photo by Dietmar Temps

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