C40 – a group of the world’s 40 largest cities..

A recent HBS articles alerts me to this group called C-40, a group where cities look at climate change challenges and solutions.

I was not aware of a group like this.  C-40 website says:

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) is a network of large and engaged cities from around the world committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate-related actions locally that will help address climate change globally. Our organization’s global field staff works with city governments, supported by our technical experts across a range of program areas.

The C40 was created in 2005 by former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, and forged a partnership in 2006 with the Cities program of President Clinton’s Climate Initiative (CCI) to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency in large cities across the world.  Under the leadership of then Mayor of Toronto David Miller, who served after Mayor Livingstone as C40 Chair, the organization advanced programs and partnerships that drew international recognition for the role of cities as leaders in climate action. C40 was further strengthened in 2011 via a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the full integration of the CCI Cities Program.

The current chair of the C40 is New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who – with the support the C40 executive leadership team —  guides the work of the C40, along with the members of the C40 Steering Committee: Berlin, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, London, New York City, Sao Paulo, Seoul and Tokyo.

Hmmm.. Check the website there are some useful case studies and resources.

Back to HBS article. Bloomberg says why it is crucial for cities  to cut on carbons:

Named chairman last year of the C40, Bloomberg sees cities as focal points in the struggle against global warming and climate change. Urban areas are now home to half the world’s population, consume half the world’s energy, and, according to some measures, account for as much as 70 percent of global CO2 emissions. They also remain the hubs and engines for the world’s economic, political, cultural, and social development. Fortunately, because of their legislative power to regulate buildings, density, energy use, and transportation, cities and their mayors can be pacesetters in climate change mitigation.

And because cities are discovering that the greener they are, the better their quality of life and the greater their competitive advantage, they have by necessity become innovative, reality-based drivers of environmental policy and action. Cities are where humanity presses up against the future, but with needs that clamor for solutions right now. The leaders of cities feel the heat, literally and figuratively: “Mayors can’t just talk about goals for the year 2050,” Bloomberg says, citing a date often used for environmental targets and projections. “Cities are where you deliver services.”

One can club cities as 3 types:

One useful way to think about cities is to divide them into three fluid (and sometime overlapping) categories: global hubs of wealth and talent (e.g., New York, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong); megacities and population magnets (e.g., São Paulo, Lagos, Mumbai, Jakarta); and “up-and-comers,” cities of 150,000 to 10 million people, aspiring to international stature (e.g., Cape Town, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur). Much of the world’s population growth in the coming decades will be in this last group.

Amid the challenges of protecting the environment and halting its decline in urban areas and elsewhere, there is a consensus that sustainability will drive business during the coming years and that the transition to a low-carbon economy will bring significant investment opportunities. Cities, the C40 says, offer three principal areas for such investment activity: increasing infrastructure energy efficiency, namely in buildings, lighting, and transportation systems; using resources more effectively, for example, through advanced waste management; and producing clean energy at the district level as well as sourcing clean energy from large-scale suppliers. For cities and businesses, millions of dollars saved is equal to millions of dollars earned, and that can readily be achieved through greater efficiencies. While clean tech and green tech—glamorous alternative energy sources and state-of-the-art systems, machinery, and products—often come to mind, the most dramatic inroads may be made in much more prosaic ways, especially in the urban setting.

Hmm.. Read the whole thing. It talks about a case study in Mumbai and how new cities are going to come up in Growing countries. They all should be looking at these challenges and working on them. As they start from a scratch should design teh cities in ways that leads to lower carbon emissions..

Barring this, I think cities should take the centre in climate change and other policies as well. The moment we have countries talking about it the talks get too political. Cities have played a major role and the role is only going to increase as urbanization grows in countries like India and China. Housing, transportation, energy etc are all implemented at city level and they need to be made part of global discussions.

 

 

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