Adelaide, Barcelona, London, Paris, Cape Town, Hong Kong and San Francisco are among the 7% of cities reporting to CDP that have received the top score for climate leadership and action.
Adelaide is leading Australia, which also has Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra on the A-list, by having the ambitious goal of becoming a net zero-carbon city by 2025. It plans to do this by revolutionising its transport sector and moving to renewables. This target goes further than the South Australia state’s target to be zero-carbon by 2050, and far out-strips the country’s national commitment to reduce emissions by 26-28% by 2030 (on 2005 levels) under the Paris Agreement.
Kyra Appleby, Global Director for Cities, States and Regions at CDP said: “The need for action on climate change has never been more urgent, as the latest report from the IPCC has warned. Cities house more than half of the world’s population and are responsible for over 70% of the world’s energy-related carbon emissions, so they could make or break efforts to tackle climate change.”
“Just 7% of cities who reported to CDP in 2018 received an A. We urge cities worldwide to step up their action, set targets in line with what the latest science says is needed to prevent dangerous climate change, and transparently share their progress.”
Over 625 cities reported through CDP’s environmental disclosure platform in 2018 (of which 596 were scored). They have been awarded an ‘A’ to ‘D-’ score based on how effectively they are managing, measuring and tackling greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate-related risks including water security.
An ‘A’ score through CDP, which runs the global environmental reporting system for companies and subnational governments, means a city demonstrates strong climate adaptation and mitigation strategies, and consistently tracks its emissions. Leading action looks different around the world, depending on the size of the city, the size of its emissions, and its susceptibility to extreme weather events. Actions being taken by A List cities include:
Adelaide: In the face of growing climate change impacts, Adelaide is moving ahead of both national and state targets to go zero-carbon by 2025.
Sydney: Aiming for net zero emissions by 2050
Canberra: Carbon neutral by 2045
London: introduced an ultra-low emissions zone on April 8, 2019, this sees drivers with older, more polluting cars paying more to drive in central London in a bid to clean up the city’s air.
Calgary: is building a new light rail system aptly named the Green Line, The first stage will be completed in 2026 and is expected cut 30,000 tonnes of CO2e from the city’s traffic emissions every year, the equivalent of taking more than 23,000 cars off the road each year.
The Hague: in its seaside resort of Scheveningen, the city has built a new waterfront boulevard. Invisible to the average citizen, a kilometre-long dike can be found beneath the boulevard, offering another layer of protection from coastal flooding.
Taipei: tackling drought is a top priority for the city which has fixed 2,200 water leaks saving 613,300 tonnes of water per year since 2015.
This is the first time CDP has released a list of cities awarded an A in a bid to drive up ambition in the face of the growing urgency of the climate challenge. The latest climate science from the IPCC shows the global economy needs to halve global emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050 to have a good chance of keeping global temperatures within 1.5°C of warming.
Current national action plans are not on track for a 1.5°C pathway and would result in 3°C of warming, according to research by Carbon Tracker. This means the contribution of cities is more important than ever. Cities are responsible for over 70% of the world’s energy-related carbon emissions, so could make or break efforts to tackle climate change.
Every year, hundreds of cities report their climate data through CDP’s environmental disclosure platform and gain data-driven insights into gaps and opportunities for climate policy-development, resource and risk management and signal projects in need of investment. In doing so they demonstrate ambition, transparency and good governance. All publicly disclosed data is made available for free public use on CDP’s Open Data Portal.