Powering green and just cities

As mayors, we know that energy enables our cities to thrive. Energy helps city residents to connect, be safe, work, play and create. However, the energy used in our cities is mainly produced by fossil fuels – the most significant source of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – threatening cities’ ability to meet their ambitious climate goals. In addition, almost 800 million people still lack access to electricity, over 1 billion people live in urban informal settlements and slums without access to essential services, including energy, and 2.8 billion people cannot cook safely or with clean fuels.2

We know that to power sustainable, equitable and vibrant communities and achieve a just transition that leaves no one behind, we need to adopt a new energy system – one that creates good local jobs, improves our health and builds resilience. Moving away from fossil fuels and switching to renewable energy to decarbonise electricity used in our cities for heating, cooling and cooking needs, will massively reduce urban GHG emissions and improve air quality – helping us to realise our Paris Agreement compatible climate action plans and create greener more inclusive economies.

Prioritising renewable energy investments in stimulus packages rolled out worldwide can enable a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, creating economic growth and jobs in our cities. Ensuring those jobs are equitably distributed and localised can also support a just transition. An estimated 5.5 million jobs would be created by 2030 by reaching the necessary investment level for a renewables-based energy transition in the recovery phase and thereafter.

To meet the goal of the Paris Agreement and build a world transformed by the Global Green New Deal, we, as mayors of some of the world’s largest and most influential cities, pledge to power a green and just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic with renewable energy. We will take all possible steps to accelerate the full decarbonisation of electricity, heating, cooling, cooking and the phasing out of fossil fuels.

To achieve this goal, as signatories of the C40 Renewable Energy Accelerator, we will deliver on one of the following pathways to support a greener future for our cities:

Pathway 1 

Accelerating renewable energy transition: Use 100% renewable electricity citywide by 2035 and fully decarbonised energy to cook, and heat and cool buildings within the city no later than 2050.

Pathway 2 

Enabling energy access with renewables: Achieve universal access to reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity and clean cooking11 fuels and technologies by 2030 and use 100% renewable electricity citywide by 2050.

Pathway 3 

Maximising local renewable energy: Deploy clean energy systems for electricity, heating, cooling and cooking to achieve 50% of the assessed feasible potential within the city by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

These pathways will help put cities on track to significantly reduce their GHG emissions and be healthier and more sustainable places for city residents to call home. By 2030, we hope to see the benefits of renewable energy for all our city residents.

To achieve our committed targets, we will:

  • Adopt a clear roadmap and strategy for our pathway objectives within two years of signing; 
  • Ensure that this strategy follows the principle of ‘energy efficiency first’ where it is cost-effective, taking all necessary actions to increase efficiency and electrification of end-use sectors;
  • Prioritise and secure investments for actions that benefit low income and marginalised groups, and strengthen diversity and inclusivity in the energy sector;
  • Champion and publicly advocate for the goal of reaching 100% decarbonised energy systems and phasing out of fossil fuels at the city, state, regional, national and global level;
  • Implement ambitious policies, programmes and projects and engage with the private sector to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy;
  • And publicly report every year on the progress made towards our goals. 

Signatory cities:

Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Lagos, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Montréal, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul, Sydney, Tokyo, Tshwane, Vancouver

To become a signatory, please download and complete the blank action template and submit to energy@c40.org.

  1. Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll) (2020), Chilling prospects 2020: tracking sustainable cooling for all / 
  2. UN (2020), The Sustainable Development Goals Report 
  3. IRENA (2020), Mobilising institutional capital for renewable energy / 4. C40, The Global Green New Deal