On Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day at COP26 in Glasgow, state, regional and city leaders have come together to accelerate the immediate, ambitious, equitable and science-based climate action they are taking to address the climate emergency and keep 1.5 alive. They also call for national governments and other non-state actors such as businesses, trade unions and investors to join them by taking immediate action to reduce emissions in the next year, in line with delivering their fair share of halving global  carbon emissions by 2030. 

C40’s nearly 100 global city members, representing a quarter of the world’s economy, with a population of over 700 million people living and working in their cities, and the 260 members of the Under2 Coalition, which represent almost 2 billion people, are taking action now to reduce emissions from key sectors – from transitioning to 100% zero emission buses and vehicles, to passing building codes and policies to ensure all new buildings are net-zero carbon by 2030, and to ensure the transition is just, fair and equitable for workers and communities. By working together, cities, states and regions seek to go further and faster to address the climate crisis, taking action on the ground to reduce emissions before time runs out. 

Recognising the increasingly urgent impacts of climate change and the need to keep global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees, the Under2 Coalition and C40 Cities are calling on Parties to the UNFCCC to deliver a “Glasgow Package” that accelerates climate action and responds to key climate justice concerns, including:

  • A timeline and process for revisiting 2030 NDCs ahead of the 2023 Global Stocktake, building on regional and local climate contributions.
  • Delivering the $100billion of financing for the Global South.
  • Ensuring that the trillions being spent to support an economic recovery from COVID-19 support a recovery that is green, just and puts the world on a pathway to 1.5 degrees.
  • The recognition of the role of cities and multi-level governments in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

It is only through robust interim targets, and immediate and transformative action that leaders can effectively address the climate emergency, answer the demands of younger generations and be accountable for progress.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, European co-chair of the Under2 Coalition, said: “Meeting the climate crisis head-on requires urgency, creativity and leadership. Now is the time to increase the effectiveness and impact of cities, states, regions and devolved nations – and governments of all levels have a role to play in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“For over half of the emissions cuts needed at a global level, the responsibility lies with local, regional and devolved governments. States and regions have a unique role to play in amplifying the voices of communities most affected by climate change – but must also be held accountable for following through on the commitments they have made in order to propel global action forward.” 

The Mayor of London and Chair-Elect of C40, Sadiq Khan, said: “Immediate, ambitious and equitable climate action is needed now to reduce carbon emissions, clean the air we breathe and achieve climate justice in cities and around the world. We must take bold action now or face dire consequences – with catastrophic impacts on our environment and the climate – further down the line.

“In London, I am proud to be leading the charge with bold climate action. Last month we expanded our Ultra Low Emission Zone which is now the largest in the world, we also now have the largest zero emission bus fleet in Western Europe and a third of the UK’s EV charge points. But myself and other city leaders can only do so much alone. The time is now for national governments around the world to step up to the plate and commit to real change, so we can build a brighter, fairer and greener future for all.”

Today’s call to action follows joint 2030 commitments made by members of C40, the Under2 Coalition and the U.S. Climate Alliance this week. 68 jurisdictions signed up to actions under key sectors including the built environment, energy and nature-based solutions. The Under2 Coalition also recently announced its plans to become a ‘net zero’ coalition, with all members setting targets that will set them on course to be net zero by 2050, with pathways in place to make meaningful progress by 2030.

Actions by C40 Cities and the Under2 Coalition have been included as part of the UNFCCC Race to Zero, a campaign developed to rally climate leadership for net zero emissions ahead of COP26. This is at the same time as actions from subnational governments have been included in the Race to Resilience campaign to build global climate resilience and ensure that people and nature are put first in a changing world.

Since its launch in November 2020, Cities Race to Zero has amassed a global coalition of 1,049 cities and local governments across 76 countries, representing 722 million people, that are committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and slashing their fair share of emissions to ensure global emissions are halved by 2030. A total of 48 state and regional governments have joined the Race to Zero campaign in the past year.

Cities are the biggest group of governments committed to keeping global heating to 1.5°C and their collective action has the potential to reduce global emissions by at least 1.4 gigatons annually by 2030, the equivalent of the emissions output of the fifth biggest economy of the world. The Under2 Coalition has been recognised as the international collaborative initiative with the biggest potential to reduce global emissions by 4.9 – 5.2 gigatons annually by 2030.

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