Research Spotlight: New Publications Highlight 10 Cities Delivering Best in Class Climate Action Reporting

In this next installment of the C40 Research Spotlight series, we hear from our very own Ava Zekri, Measurement & Reporting Manager, on exciting new reports that have been developed with some of our key research partners. – Seth Schultz, C40 Director of Research, Measurement & Planning

What climate risks does the city of Melbourne face? What actions has New York undertaken to recover from Hurricane Sandy and prepare for future extreme weather events? What has Buenos Aires done to reduce its carbon footprint? The answers to these questions and more are now available in 10 companion reports featuring the 10 cities whose climate action reporting was of the highest quality as submitted to our official reporting partner, CDP Cities, in 2013. Not surprisingly, nine of the 10 cities are a part of C40: Buenos Aires, Cape Town, London, Melbourne, New York City, Philadelphia, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco and Tokyo (Kaohsiung was the non-C40 city that cracked the top 10).

C40 provides cities with tools and support to enable them to measure and monitor their climate actions. We partner with CDP Cities, who with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies provide a global platform for cities to publicly disclose key climate data. C40 is proud that more than 80% of its members reported through this platform in 2013, a 50% increase from 2012. While we release an annual report on the data in partnership with AECOM and CDP, this is the first time these partners have published in-depth individualized studies on specific cities, as a way to recognize their commitment, and highlight their successes.

Individually, the reports provide insights into how leading cities are becoming more sustainable. Collectively, they show the power of the C40 network. The willingness of cities to share knowledge and experiences with other cities and urban stakeholders is at the heart of the C40’s strategy and a key reason why our members are taking the lead on tackling climate change.

Cape Town’s report, for example, shows how the city is using climate change as an opportunity to increase infrastructure investment, strengthen energy security and develop new industries (e.g. clean tech, additional business options and improved efficiency of operations). Other cities’ reports detail how they are able to build the political case (and capital base) for climate action while improving the management of city activities so that emissions benefit are easier to quantify.

In addition to creating these new reports, C40 and CDP delivered individualized, interactive private benchmarking reports this year. These build off each city’s submission to the CDP platform and provide a historical overview of their responses, key points of analysis for taking city action, and an opportunity to identify cities with similar attributes.

The benefits of this effort are clear. As the city of Oslo puts it: “The CDP Cities has helped us forward and given us a systematic in-depth status of our climate policy. It has enabled us to gather up dated information within our city government. At the same time is has highlighted the importance of our GHG inventories and thus inspired us to develop it further”.

Although the 2014 reporting cycle has just come to an end, our efforts to improve the availability and usability of data for our cities is only beginning. We are currently in the midst of analysis that will lead to enhanced reports on data quality frontrunners, and more robust benchmarking reports for all participating cities. In fact, our annual report with CDP is due for release on July 10th and the C40 Research team is looking forward to amplifying the positive commitment and action of our cities. The 2015 reporting cycle will open in early 2015.