- Ninety-four mayors announced their support of a Global Green New Deal at the C40 Climate Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Wednesday. The group recognized a global climate emergency and committed to keep global heating under the Paris climate agreement goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
- The Global Green New Deal was announced by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, with backing from the C40 member cities. The group also announced that 30 of its cities have peaked greenhouse gas emissions, with the recent additions of Athens, Greece; Lisbon, Portugal; Venice, Italy and Austin, TX.
- Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, proposed efforts around a national Green New Deal, calling for the public investment of renewable energy to support decarbonization. Similar to that proposal's call for citywide climate leadership in lieu of federal leadership, the C40 Climate Summit is a gathering of mayors and other industry leaders committed to fighting climate change within urban decision-making and at the city level.
The four newest cities to reach peak levels for greenhouse gas emissions join other major metropolis areas including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and New York City. Since hitting peak levels, the cities have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 22% on average. Copenhagen, the summit’s host city, has cut emissions by up to 61%.
How did the cities achieve those reductions? Some notable initiatives over the past ten years include: deploying more than 66,000 electric buses across the C40 city streets (compared to 100 in 2009); banning or restricting use of non-recyclable plastics in 18 cities (compared to two in 2009); and committing to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2030 in 24 of the cities.
Despite the progress made, it’s still "nothing to win medals for," according to C40 Cities Executive Director Mark Watts. He stated that emissions around the world need to start falling in the next year to maintain ambitious climate goals.
Outside of the Global Green New Deal, smaller cities like Ithaca, NY have unveiled similar climate goals, mirroring the work being done in New York. The Green New Deal commitment in New York City includes the goal to be carbon neutral by 2050 and the 100% use of clean electricity, in addition to banning glass-walled buildings and electrifying transportation fleets.
The main priorities for cities with Green New Deals include accelerated timelines and ambitious goals for the buildings and transportation sectors. Boston updated its Climate Action Plan this week to require all new buildings have a carbon neutral design, and Chicago recently launched an Energy Rating System to rate and display the energy efficiency of large buildings.
The C40 Climate Summit follows the the UN Summit in September where few climate commitments were made by the world's leaders. "World leaders met in New York just last month and once again failed to agree anything close to the level of action necessary to stop the climate crisis," said Mayor of Paris and C40 Chair, Anne Hidalgo, in a statement. "Their ineptitude directly threatens all people around the globe as time keeps running against us. There is no other solution but a Global Green New Deal to be the pivotal instrument to win this race against the clock."
C40 aims to help city leaders with that "race against the clock" with the launch of the C40 Knowledge Hub, an online platform that pulls together insights, experiences and tested plans in one place. Global cities can learn from the work already being done by accessing policy briefs, technical guidance, data, research, case studies and more.