C40 research details accelerating climate trends


The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) released landmark research today, 5 February 2014, demonstrating a clear trend of expanding and accelerating climate action in the world’s megacities.

Climate actions, such as implementing rigorous energy efficiency regulations for buildings, instituting bus rapid transit lines or flood mapping efforts, aim to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and improve urban resilience to climate change.

“Mayors have real power to cut emissions and improve climate resilience, and they are taking action,” said C40 Chair, Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes.

“C40’s networks and efforts on measurement and reporting are accelerating city-led action at a transformative scale around the world.”

The report, Climate Action in Megacities Volume 2.0 (CAM 2.0), was developed in partnership with consultancy firm Arup and released today at the C40 Mayors Summit in Johannesburg. It clearly demonstrates that C40 cities are taking action, and are dedicated to working together in the fight against climate change. The research shows that across C40 cities, mayors hold the power to enact change – and this power is evidenced by widespread efforts across key sectors.

CAM 2.0 follows an initial report published in 2011, which provided an unprecedented benchmark of actions C40 Cities have taken, and an inventory of powers mayors hold over key climate protection sectors. Key findings of CAM 2.0 include:

● Reported action has nearly doubled since 2011, with cities now reporting more than 8,000 climate actions currently underway.

● 41% of actions are taking place at a transformative, citywide scale.

● 98% of reporting cities say climate change presents significant risks to their populations and infrastructure.

● C40’s networks have successfully driven collaboration between cities and have led to massive scale-up of projects and programmes.

For instance, there is a 500% increase in cities implementing bike-sharing schemes over just two years – 6 in 2011 to 36 in 2013).

● Learning between cities is truly global. For example, the number of cities reporting BRT systems more than doubled between 2011 and 2013, with 13 forerunners in the global south and 16 successors largely in developed, western countries.

“C40’s emphasis on measurement and reporting helps cities focus resources and spread the most effective solutions – and this report shows that our efforts are bringing powerful results. By using data to show what works – and what’s possible – cities can inform the global conversation on climate change and contribute to aggressive national targets to reduce emissions,” said Michael Bloomberg, philanthropist, 108th Mayor of New York City and President of the C40 Board.

“’Measurement for management’ has been a key tenet of C40, and one that will remain central to C40’s operations going forward,” said Mark Watts, C40 Executive Director.

“Our data will inform the strategic direction of C40 programmes and initiatives, and enable C40 cities to set targets, evaluate actions and access resources. This ability to target our efforts is critical, given the urgent need to reduce emissions and climate risks.”

Supporting the launch of the report, Arup UKMEA Chair, Alan Belfield, said, “The CAM 2.0 report stands as a testament to the tremendous work already being carried out by mayors and city authorities around the globe to tackle climate change and boost resilience. Not only that, but it also provides a readily accessible menu of actions that cities can take to improve peoples’ lives and deliver value for money at the same time.”

Top findings from key sectors include:

Adaptation & Water

● Cities are taking climate adaptation seriously – 98% of cities recognize it as a threat that presents significant risk, and they are allocating funding (80 percent of cities) and staff resources (83% of cities) to develop solutions.

● 89% and 77% of reporting cities have power to act on Adaptation and Water, respectively Energy Efficiency.

● 90% of responding cities are taking action on outdoor lighting to reduce emissions from streetlights and to introduce smart streetlighting technology.

● Of the total actions addressing energy efficiency in buildings, 69% of actions focused on reducing energy demands in buildings, including insulation and monitoring energy usage.

● 84% and 88% of reporting cities have power to act on buildings and outdoor lighting, respectively.
Energy Supply.

● Waste-to-Energy is a cross-sector success with cities reporting the highest proportion (64%) of transformative and significant actions, including capturing methane gas at landfills and generating low carbon energy through anaerobic digestion at waste treatment facilities.

● One-third of energy supply actions planned for future expansion will focus on generating energy from waste.
● 49% of reporting cities have power over energy supply assets.

Finance and Economic Development

● 47%of cities have established their own funds to invest in energy efficiency, renewable energy or carbon reduction projects.

● Over 50% of all planned actions are already in the pilot stage, suggesting strong innovation and scaling potential.

● 70% of reporting cities have power over to act in the Finance & Economy sector.

Sustainable Communities

● C40 cities are implementing more than 350 actions on sustainable community development, with a trend towards more transformative or significant actions, rather than pilots or proposed actions.

● 76% of cities intend to expand a community-scale development action already in progress, showing that cities are accelerating their response to climate change.

● 58% and 25% of reporting cities have power to act in the Food & Agriculture and Information and Communication Technology, sectors, respectively.


● The greatest increase in reported actions were found in the Transport sector, with 150% increase in actions compared to 2011.

● Cities are taking 1,534 actions in transport, 873 of which are in private transport, 661 on mass transit.

● 49% of reported actions are to promote walking and cycling – more than any other action area in private transport.

● 88% of reporting cities have power to act on transport.


● 65% of actions in waste reduction are in the transformative stage and are being delivered citywide.

● 92% of cities taking action on landfill management are implementing landfill gas management/gas to energy.

● 82% of reporting cities have power to act on waste.

The 63 C40 Cities represent 600 million people worldwide, 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 21% of GDP.

At the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, C40 announced that member cities’ existing actions will reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 248 million tonnes by 2020 and that the potential reduction could be over 1 billion tonnes by 2030.


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