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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – On June 19, mayors, delegations from the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and a U.S. President, assembled in Rio at Rio + C40: Megacity Mayors Taking Action on Climate Change, an event to highlight the concrete climate actions being taken by C40 Cities.
New data released June 19 indicates that C40 Cities have the potential to reduce their annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over a billion tons by 2030, from business as usual. This is equivalent to the annual GHG emissions of Mexico and Canada combined. Just with the measures they have already undertaken or committed to, C40 Cities are on track to reduce their collective annual emissions by 248 million tons by 2020. C40 Cities have undertaken nearly 5,000 climate-related actions since the network first formed in 2005. In many cases, these actions were taken without national government support.
Additionally, and helping to build on cities’ significant accomplishments, C40 is launching a new solid waste peer-to-peer learning network on June 19. With support from the World Bank and the Climate and Clean Air Initiative of the U.S. State Department, C40 will establish a new network that will assist local governments in reducing methane emissions through solid waste management. C40′s partners will provide technical assistance to help participating cities develop viable programs and projects that reduce methane gas production, enable access to financing and facilitate sharing across this network of cities for active peer-learning and collaborative work. C40 works in partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative, a program of the William J. Clinton Foundation.
“Mayors and cities don’t have the luxury of just sitting around and talking about problems because on a whole range of critical issues, the buck stops at City Hall. Because of Mayors’ commitment to action, cities are making great progress in reducing greenhouse gases, which helps beat back climate change and makes our cities better, more liveable places,” said New York City Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg. “The data we are releasing today is more evidence that cities have been and will continue to lead the way.”
“My Foundation has been working since 2006 with the mayors of many large cities around the world to help them reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,” said President Clinton, a founding partner of C40 who joined the event by videoconference. “Today’s announcements prove that, through creative partnerships, we can help reduce our carbon output to protect our environment and create jobs to grow our economies.”
In a second announcement, C40 will be partnering with the Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability (JIUS) to foster the sharing of best practices collected in all C40 Cities through a new library incorporated into the newly launched C40 website www.C40.org. This resource will be publicly available and will focus on identifying the key linkages between policy tools, financing strategies and partnerships that enable successful climate reduction strategies.
The JIUS started as a pilot program that fostered exchanges between the C40 cities of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA) and Rio de Janeiro over the last 18 months, with the support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Rio. U.S. Environmental Protection Administrator Lisa Jackson joined Mayor Bloomberg and Mayor Paes to make the announcement.
“While welcoming the C40 to Rio de Janeiro, I have been reflecting on the significance of cities and their impact on our environment. I am encouraged that we, as Mayors and citizens, are implementing plans to promote change and reduce carbon emissions in an effort to halt climate change,” said Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes. “When mobilized as one, cities wield sufficient collective power to influence opinion and nudge policy further up the legislative agenda. Cities have more freedom than nation states to put into place progressive strategies that are already changing people’s lives and today’s announcement is testament to the action and unity that is thriving at a municipal level around the globe.”
These announcements came in advance of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and highlight the concrete sustainability actions being taken by C40 Cities. Based on these tangible advances, mayors and local government leaders are in Rio to call on national governments and international organizations to provide more financing and other support for local climate action. Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) research shows that cities are largely financing their climate change actions without significant external support, as 64% of city initiatives are funded through general municipal funds.
Measurement of progress and accountability toward outcomes have been two of the major themes of Mayor Bloomberg’s C40 chairmanship, which began in November 2010. According to recent reports by the CDP and Arup, cities are extremely active in taking steps to reduce carbon emissions and they have potential to do even more. One hundred percent of the 45 reporting C40 Cities and 80% of all other reporting cities were implementing a range of carbon emission reduction activities. Seventy-one percent of the 45 reporting C40 Cities reported city-wide reduction targets. Mayors have direct control over 75% of urban emissions sources. C40 Cities represent the world’s megacities and account for approximately 14% of global GHG emissions as currently estimated.
Similarly, partnerships with peer organizations are a key part of C40′s growth and service delivery strategy, which convenes networks of cities with common goals and challenges to focus on taking concrete action. In May 2012, C40 announced an expanded partnership and scope of its work on developing a global protocol for community-scale GHG emissions. C40, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and the World Resources Institute will pilot the newly-launched protocol in at least 10 global cities; develop technical assistance support for cities; and expand the community protocol into a more comprehensive GHG accounting standard for community-scale emissions, including consideration of a full range of direct and indirect GHG emissions from urban activities. This will enable local governments to account for how demand for goods and services as well as local innovative technologies can impact a GHG footprint.
Governor of Jakarta Fauzi Bowo welcomed the two initiatives launched at the Rio+C40 meeting by the mayors of the world’s largest cities and said that “Any partnership which allows sharing of knowledge and best practices aiming to fight climate change is crucial in order that greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. Different cities face different challenges in confronting climate change. The basic approach Jakarta has taken in reducing greenhouse gas emissions has been a holistic approach based on the basic policy implemented in managing Jakarta, which is pro-poor, pro-jobs, pro growth and pro-environment. These four factors cannot be separated from each other.”