C40 cities inspire Race to Zero commitments in bid to halve emissions by 2030 and deliver a green and just recovery from COVID-19

The Race to Zero campaign was launched on June 5th, 2020 in a joint effort by Nigel Topping, UK COP26 Climate Champion and Gonzalo Muñoz, Chile COP25 Climate Champion to encourage cities, regions, businesses and investors to accelerate their commitments to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero no later than 2050. Thanks to C40’s Deadline 2020 programme, 1161 cities have already committed to such global climate leadership,  and as part of the Race to Zero, are setting the bar on what ambitious climate action means for cities.

As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, COP26 was postponed to November 2021 and will take place in Glasgow, UK. Whilst 2020 will be defined by the global effort to tackle the pandemic, action on climate change remains critical. All countries party to the Paris Agreement are required to submit increased climate commitments showing how they will keep temperatures below 1.5ºC/2ºC. However, most countries are yet to present sufficiently ambitious targets, and the world remains on a trajectory to 3ºC of heating. 

C40 cities were the first to join the Race to Zero in the run up to COP25 (then, the Climate Ambition Alliance). Now the Race to Zero brings together 449 cities, 21 regions, 995 businesses, 505 universities and 38 investors representing 25% global CO2 emissions and over 50% global GDP. The Race to Zero seeks to spur a new growth and innovation agenda as societies rebuild after COVID-19 and strives to deliver a zero emissions world in the 2040s. The campaign is also committed to building resilience to future shocks, such as pandemics and extreme weather, addressing long standing inequalities, and preventing  future economic downturns and unnecessary deaths from air pollution, climate change or environmental destruction.

The commitment of C40 cities to Paris Agreement compatible, equitable and resilient climate action plans underpinned by the principles of the Global Green New Deal shows how pursuing the action required by science to avoid climate breakdown contributes to building safer, healthier, greener and more equitable cities for all. The experience of C40 cities also shows that these principles must be the building blocks of our COVID-19 recovery. The C40 Mayors Agenda for a Green and Just Recovery identifies specific measures, already being delivered in many cities around the world, which must become the ‘new normal’ in order to contain and better prepare for future pandemics, address systemic injustices and keep global heating below the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement. 

Recognising that delivering this agenda will require a global effort, C40 mayors call on all cities, levels of governments, international institutions and stakeholders to follow their leadership and support their efforts. We invite you all to join the Race to Zero.

For more information on the Race to Zero, please contact us at diplomacy@c40.org.

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1.  At the time of the Race to Zero launch the number of cities committed to Deadline 2020 was 116. For the most up to date list of committed cities please visit the Deadline 2020 Resource Center: https://resourcecentre.c40.org/