2012 in Review: Cities Commit to (and are achieving) GHG Reductions

The C40’s primary goal is to significantly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and in 2012 major, significant strides were taken.

In March, C40 Cities and Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) released a draft edition of the Global Protocol for Community-scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions (community protocol), a historic effort to harmonize emissions measurement and reporting across cities of all sizes and geographies. When Mayor Bloomberg took over as Chair, he succinctly stated “you can’t manage it, if you can’t measure it.” This partnership with ICLEI, announced at the Mayors Summit in 2011 by the Chair takes an important step forward to ensure that all cities and localities are measuring emissions the same way, to ensure the impact of action plans – or a lack there of – can accurately be measured.

In another example of the Chair delivering on his commitment to drive concrete action, a major step forward in the C40-World Bank collaboration was announced in September. One year after forging an initial partnership, also announced at the 2011 Mayors Summit, the two organizations announced the launch of an effort to enable cities’ in developing parts of the world easier access to World Bank information, tools and resources. With help from the C40, accessing these resources will then enable these cities to drive local climate action.

In June, C40 partner the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) released Measurement for Management CDP Cities 2012 Global Report, outlining the individual and collective city climate actions undertaken by C40 cities. This is yet another fulfillment of the Chair’s vision of providing ample research tools to benchmark both progress and the prospects for future climate action success.

However, the most significant announcement in 2012 came at the Rio+C40 event, held a day in advance of the global Rio+20 climate Summit. C40 Chair New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes and 33 C40 Cities joined President Clinton in identifying major, tangible progress in achieving GHG reductions. At the Rio+C40, in stark contrast to the lack of action taken at the Rio+20 conference, the Chair announced that C40 Cities’ existing actions will reduce global annual GHG emissions by 248 million tonnes in 2020, with the potential to reduce over 1 billion tonnes by 2030.

The steps taken in 2012 will lay greater groundwork for further action in 2013, and we look forward to bringing you more information and updates as the C40 continues to take action locally, that is having a global impact.