Chennai announced its commitment today to mainstream climate action into its master plan, land use planning policies, and regulations through the establishment of the Jameel C40 Urban Planning Climate Lab supported by C40 Cities and Community Jameel.

The Jameel C40 Urban Planning Climate Lab aims to help Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) in revising its master planning documents by better integrating climate objectives and adapting to climate risks. CMDA is currently engaged in a process to develop a Third Master Plan (2026-2046) focused on building climate resilience and improving the adaptive ability of the Chennai Metropolitan Area.

The Tamil Nadu government launched Chennai’s first Climate Action Plan (CAP) on 13 June, 2023 making it the second Indian city to have a Paris Agreement-aligned CAP. The CAP has been designed to serve as a roadmap for the city to become carbon neutral by 2050, setting targets of 1% by 2030, 40% by 2040 (compared to 2018-19) and achieving net zero by 2050. The climate action planning process led to the development of a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, climate risk assessment and mapping, and the identification of strategies and actions for both mitigation and adaptation.

The actions contained within Chennai CAPs clearly demonstrate that an integrated effort by a coalition of departments and institutions will be required. As urban planning is a cross-cutting discipline, affecting land use decisions, green spaces, transport, housing and more, it is a central function for delivering emissions reductions and increased resilience. CMDA recognises this and, in alignment with the National and State Government’s ambitions on climate action and with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, aims to develop a Third Master Plan (2027-2046) that embeds key actions from the Chennai CAP.

The Jameel C40 Urban Planning Climate Lab recognises the fact that urban planning is a key tool to help cities realise their greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets; adapt to the impacts of climate change and deliver wider socio-economic and environmental co-benefits. For the first phase of work, an updated greenhouse gas inventory that covers the Chennai Metropolitan Area is being produced. This will be accompanied by a comprehensive urban planning and climate action integration baseline assessment report, vulnerability mapping, and identification of priority policy actions for the Third Master Plan.

The Jameel C40 Urban Planning Climate Lab is part of a network of climate labs launched as a partnership between Community Jameel, C40, and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, which aim to embed and strengthen policy teams in national, state and city government to drive evidence-based and innovative approaches to tackling the effects of the climate crisis. In addition to the Chennai Lab, a Jameel C40 Urban Planning Climate Lab will launch in Amman, Jordan, along with three J-PAL-supported climate labs in Egypt, India and South Africa, which will collectively serve nearly 260 million people.

Download the full press release to find out more.

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