We know that cities are key to a green and resilient future – however, many cities around the world are currently unable to finance the bold and ambitious climate action that will keep us on the right track. Significantly more investment in cities is needed, but even if existing development finance institutions, funds and investors offered more support, cities - particularly in low- and middle-income countries - would still face an uphill battle to finance the transition to a low-carbon future.
By removing fossil fuel assets from investment portfolios and increasing assets in sustainable companies and projects, the Divest/Invest movement is fighting back against the dangerous business models of fossil fuel companies. Divest/Invest does not only challenge the social license of the energy giants whose business models are not compatible with a 1.5°C future. It has now also become a material risk for them: last year Shell admitted that a continued rise in divestment could have a “material adverse effect on the price of our securities and our ability to access equity capital markets”.
I was in Beijing last week to launch C40’s China Climate Action Plan programme, as well as to celebrate progress on C40’s China Buildings Programme. It was a great opportunity to understand that just as China has in recent years become the electric vehicle, renewable energy, and cycle-hire capital of the world, so its cities may be poised to leapfrog everywhere else in green building standards too.
I was inspired and shamed in equal measure recently by attending the huge 'School Strike for Climate' in Oslo. "You'll die of old age, but I'll die of climate change" accused one placard. "System change, not climate change" read many more. Thousands of children thronged, chanting into the square outside Parliament to try and make their parents' generation, of which I am a member in denial, wake up and stop destroying the eco-system that enables humanity to thrive on the only planet we have access to.
To help cities document the progress and impacts of climate change adaptation initiatives, we’ve partnered with Ramboll Consulting to develop a framework that cities can use to monitor, evaluate and report (MER) on their adaptation actions. The framework also provides a list of indicators for cities to apply to the most commonly adopted actions. The project was developed in 2018 and was piloted by three C40 Cities: Austin (USA), Johannesburg, (South Africa) and Quito (Ecuador).