• Clean energy transition will create millions of good, green jobs by expanding renewable energy generation, phasing out fossil fuels from buildings and expanding public transport, among other things.
  • Investment in urban climate action pays off, with new evidence showing more than 14 million green jobs created in 53 C40 cities alone.
  • Three-quarters of C40 cities are cutting per-capita emissions faster than their respective nation-states.

In a resounding display of unity and purpose, mayors from around the globe have come together at the United Nations Climate Ambition Summit to highlight their groundbreaking efforts to usher in a new era: one devoid of fossil fuels and powered by clean, affordable energy. These visionary leaders, while prioritising the wellbeing of their residents, are charting a course that not only curbs the impact of climate breakdown, but also fosters good-quality jobs and a skilled workforce.

Evidence collected for the first time, by C40 Cities, shows the payoff of well-designed policies and strategic investments, with more than 14 million green jobs already created in 53 C40 member cities alone, helping to halve fossil fuel use by 2030 while improving livelihoods. This includes more than 9 million direct green jobs and more than 5 million indirect green jobs — a clear indication that green investments are boosting demand for materials and inputs, thus increasing jobs in supplier industries. More than 60 C40 member cities now have green jobs and just transition programmes to ensure better access to jobs and improved livelihoods, including 26 new policies or programme expansions announced in just the past 12 months, to be delivered with business, unions, workers and youth.

Led by its Chair and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, C40 is bringing a large and geographically diverse mayoral delegation to make an indelible mark in New York this week. By presenting a compelling case for the elimination of fossil fuels, C40 mayors are underscoring the transformative influence of city-led climate actions around the world. A select group of C40 mayors will address the UN Climate Ambition Summit on 20 September and engage in discussions with world leaders on the fringes of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly.

C40 Chair and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I am proud to stand alongside fellow global Mayors at the UN Climate Ambition Summit. London and other cities around the world are leading the way when it comes to taking bold climate action. We need to end our reliance on fossil fuels and usher in a new era of clean, affordable energy.  I am honoured to be speaking during the United Nations General Assembly about climate change, the biggest global threat we face today. The evidence is clear: our cities are engines of progress, generating more than 14 million green jobs and cutting fossil fuel consumption by half within a decade. Now we need national governments to step up too and deliver on the promises they have made to tackle the climate crisis.”

Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala said: “As the level of government closest to citizens, cities are States’ best allies in building a fossil-fuel free future. City residents ask for viable responses to current challenges – from the energy crisis to the cost of living –  that must not turn out to be false solutions tying us to polluting models. By working together, local and national authorities can boost the implementation of forward-looking policies that generate multiple benefits, including carbon emissions’ reduction, the creation of good green jobs, the elimination of energy poverty and the protection of health. I am hopeful that the participation of global mayors in the UN Climate Ambition Summit be a further step towards a closer meaningful cooperation at all levels of government.”

Freetown Mayor-elect Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr said: “With almost 60% of the world’s population living in cities, it is imperative that cities play a critical role in tackling the climate crisis in a manner that leads to sustainable improvements in the lives of our residents, our communities and our planet. I am excited because the potential for transformative change to be achieved in cities has already been proven with many cities leading on ambitious investments in nature-based solutions, the transition to renewable energy, the creation of green jobs and the building of resilience in communities. In order for more climate solutions to be delivered quickly and at scale, there must be effective collaboration between cities and national governments and more direct access to climate finance for cities. I am thrilled that the participation of mayors at the UN Climate Ambition Summit will help unlock the potential for cities to play an even greater role in tackling the climate crisis.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said: “As a global leader in equitable sustainability and resiliency, New York City is honored to welcome mayors from around the world this week. Our administration has delivered bold action and critical investments that can serve as a model for how large cities across the globe can meet ambitious climate goals. And I look forward to working alongside fellow government leaders to gain their insight and continue working together to advance this important work.”

Quezon City Mayor Josefina “Joy” Belmonte said: “Our commitment to clean and sustainable energy is rooted in our vision to create a tangible and inclusive impact on the lives of our citizens. A just transition from fossil fuels is expected to yield immeasurable positive effects on both our environment and economy. For this reason, our local investment plan is focused on transforming our energy infrastructure and adopting clean and efficient transportation. To date, we are solarising our local government buildings and facilities, and are transitioning to an eco-friendly fleet. Soon, we will be extending these efforts to the private sector through our Green Building ordinance. Along with our fellow cities, Quezon City is aggressively pursuing decarbonisation for a sustainable future, where communities thrive without fossil fuels, but are instead powered by clean and affordable energy. Together, we hope our collective voices serve as a clarion call to the global community to vigorously strive for a lasting, fossil-free future.”

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes said: “Local governments and our citizens are on the frontline in dealing with the impacts of climate change. Collaboration between all levels of government and the support of international networks and organisations is key to achieving a fossil-free future. Cities have clearly shown their commitment and potential to contribute in this process and require now, more than ever, the appropriate level of financial and political support to go even further.”

A staggering three-quarters of C40 cities have outpaced their respective nation-states in per-capita emission reduction, illustrating the clout of city-led policies and initiatives. With nearly 50 influential global megacities already undertaking proactive measures that reduce gas and fossil fuel demand and enhance energy efficiency and renewable energy adoption, from passing green building codes to installing solar on public housing, the journey toward a sustainable future without fossil fuels has gained unprecedented momentum.

Mayors offer today to work with governments, civil society and businesses to close the intolerable gaps in action identified in the Global Stocktake, the most comprehensive overview of climate action since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, released 8 September by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The report makes clear that scaling up renewable energy and phasing out all unabated fossil fuels are indispensable elements of just energy transitions – and mayors are acting to make this transition both faster and fairer. 

The world’s first comprehensive global energy roadmap to net zero, released by the International Energy Agency in 2021, stated there should be no new investment in fossil fuel supply projects and that by 2030, global coal demand should be reduced by 50% from 2020 and by 2035, global fossil fuel use should be 50% of 2020 levels. C40’s research shows that fossil gas, culpable for 20% of energy-related CO2 emissions, is an unsustainable transition between coal and renewables. Furthermore, the data demonstrates that renewables, trumping fossil fuels in affordability, can yield substantial economic gains. For every US$1 million invested in residential retrofits and solar, six times more jobs are generated compared to fossil gas power plants. Covering 10% of all rooftops in C40 cities with solar panels could generate 135 TWh of electricity, more than all the solar power generated in 2022 by Germany, France, Spain and the UK combined; this urban solar expansion would generate 5.5 million jobs globally.

In this decade of action, mayors stand united, driving a paradigm shift towards a fossil fuel-free future. The UN Climate Ambition Summit and the 78th session of the UN General Assembly offer the global stage for cities to assert their influence, beckoning federal governments, youth activists and stakeholders to partake in this momentous journey toward a sustainable, resilient world.

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