Statement by Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities

We are finally witnessing a shift: national leaders are recognising the scale of the climate emergency and moving towards the urgent action needed to avoid the catastrophic impacts on the horizon. The UK’s new target to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 is world leading, setting the bar ahead of COP26, and by setting a course to halve emissions by 2030, President Biden has nearly doubled the commitment the USA made in 2015.

The UN Secretary-General has today drawn attention to the more than 700 cities worldwide which have pledged to reach net-zero emissions – precisely because national governments must match this same level of ambition, momentum and critical mass. The science is clear – global emissions must be cut by 50% in the next decade if we are to avoid climate breakdown.

And the change is already underway in C40 cities – with LA’s commitment to providing a 97% carbon-free energy mix by 2030, Oslo’s carbon targets enshrined into the city’s budget, the world’s largest 16,000 strong electric bus fleet in Shenzhen, the world’s most ambitious Ultra Low Emission Zone in London, and with Accra, Durban, Medellín and other cities which have historically low emissions, but are still delivering tough climate action to support global efforts. In driving forward a green and just recovery from COVID-19, cities are demonstrating how governments at every level can meet the scale of the challenge and create thriving, healthy and prosperous communities for all.

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