Principles of the Global Green New Deal

1. We recognise the global climate emergency. 

2. We are committed to keeping global heating below the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement by curbing emissions in sectors that are the greatest contributors to the climate crisis: transportation, buildings, and waste

3. We are committed to putting inclusive climate action at the center of all urban decision-making, to create thriving and equitable communities for everyone

4. We invite our partners – political leaders, CEOs, trade unions, investors, and civil society – to join us

What is the Global Green New Deal?

At the 2019 C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen, Chair of C40 Cities and Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti, alongside the mayors of leading cities announced their support for a Global Green New Deal. A broad coalition – including youth climate activists, and representatives from labour, business and civil society – also announced their support. This call for a Global Green New Deal comes in response to intergovernmental action being blocked by a small number of very powerful, science-denying governments, representing the interests of the fossil-fuel industry. 

Through the Global Green New Deal, cities have reaffirmed their commitment to protecting our environment, strengthening our economy, and building a more equitable future by cutting emissions from the sectors most responsible for the climate crisis – transportation, buildings, industry, and waste – to keep global heating below the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement. 

This includes putting inclusive climate action at the center of all urban decision-making to secure a just transition for those working in high-carbon industries and correct long-running environmental injustices for those disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis – people living in the Global South generally, and the poorest communities everywhere.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering a Global Green New Deal has never been more important. Learn more about the work C40 mayors are doing to achieve a green and just recovery here.

Key Terms & Definitions

1.5 degrees

Limiting temperature rise is to 1.5°C is the only reliable ‘science-based’ target we have. We know that with any warming beyond this, cities would experience massive increases in food insecurity, water shortages, poverty, risk from extreme weather events and impacts on human health. The Paris Agreement’s target of keeping temperatures ‘well below’ 2°C, and the ‘aspirational’ target of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C, are based on a vast, robust assessment of the scientific evidence, presented by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), published in 2014, assessed the available evidence on climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as put forward adaptation and mitigation options.

When the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, governments requested the IPCC to provide a special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C, and the global greenhouse gas emissions pathways necessary to meet that goal. The subsequent IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C  (SR1.5) was released in 2018. It presented clear, alarming evidence that half a degree of warming makes a big difference: the risks associated with warming of 2°C are much higher than 1.5°C. As a result, the Paris Agreement’s ‘aspirational’ target of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C has become the internationally accepted target for climate action – not 2°C.

Inclusive Climate Action

Inclusive and equitable climate action is climate action that takes into consideration all communities and whose impacts are distributed fairly amongst all residents, especially those who are on the frontline of climate change. The climate crisis is unfair, and responses to the climate crisis can also be unfair. Those who have historically benefited from the degradation of the climate the most must support the ecological transition the world desperately needs. This is not necessarily a Global South / Global North divide: it’s between the richest 1% and the rest.

C40 defines ‘inclusivity’ as: The practice of including relevant stakeholders and communities, particularly marginalised and hard-to-reach groups, in the policy-making and urban governance process, in order to ensure a fair policy process with equitable outcomes.  

C40 defines ‘equity’ as: the fair distribution of impacts among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically, or geographically.

C40 defines ‘frontline groups’ as: people (individuals, groups, communities, etc) on the frontlines of climate change who experience the first, and the worst, effects. These often include those most dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods, Indigenous communities, and the economically or socially disadvantaged based on race, ethnicity, migrant status, gender, income level, disability, age, working conditions, informality status or religion. They frequently lack economic and political capital; and have fewer resources to prepare for and cope with climate disruptions. 

What is a just transition? 

A just transition is a sector-, city-, region- or economy-wide process that produces the plans, policies and investments so that: Everyone has social protection; All jobs are decent; Emissions are low or at zero; Poverty is eliminated; and Communities are thriving and resilient. 

A just transition includes both measures to reduce the impact of job and livelihood losses and industry phase-out on workers and communities, measures to produce new, low emissions and decent jobs and livelihoods as well as healthy communities.

C40 has partnered with The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Transport Worker Federation (ITF) and their Just Transition Centre to build bridges in cities between local administrations, unions, employers and communities to advance climate goals, improve air quality and create decent green jobs. Auckland’s climate action plan has Just Transition as one of its 11 drivers. plan was recently discussed by the city council, and there was a  formal public consultation in July 2019. The partnership between ITF and C40 has triggered dialogue between the local administration and the local transport unions. Oslo is the first C40 city to have announced a city-wide Declaration on Just Transition together with the local unions. As a result of the partnership between the Just Transition Centre, C40 and the city, Oslo’s new Just Transition taskforce met for the first time in Autumn 2019.