Cities can lead on climate-change solutions—here’s how

by World Resources Institute.

Cross-posted from the . The post was written by Manish Bapna, WRI’s executive vice president and managing director.

On June 2, I had the pleasure of speaking at the in São Paulo, Brazil. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group consists of iconic cities from around the world committed to addressing climate change. Chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the group has with the Clinton Climate Initiative’s Cities Program. Together, this partnership can have a meaningful role in the fight against climate change.

Cities are already responsible for of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. By 2030, the world will have almost —about 60 percent of the world’s population. These cities will need to learn quickly how to build housing and transportation systems, ensure food and energy supplies, and deal with waste—all while cutting back greenhouse-gas emissions.

Cities are part of the problem, but they are also part of the solution. They are centers of innovation and incubators for new technologies. This was apparent at the C40, where representatives from cities as diverse as Lagos, Jakarta, and New York were sharing stories of what works and what doesn’t.

My job at the C40 was to participate in a roundtable discussion on some of the ways cities can address their energy consumption. This is a real challenge, as energy accounts for almost . We can’t successfully tackle climate change without redefining how we produce and consume energy.

Fortunately, there are opportunities in this space. A recent estimates renewable energy could provide 80 percent of the world’s energy by 2050. Today, it represents only 13 percent of energy supply. We have to do more, quickly, to both scale up renewable energy and improve energy efficiency. This is where cities can step in and show the way. Here are some examples of how they might lead:

Measuring greenhouse-gas emissions

From his chair’s seat at the conference, Bloomberg tweeted, “If we can measure it, we can manage it.”

This is absolutely true. Cities must know what their greenhouse-gas emissions are before they can set targets and develop policies to reduce them. Bloomberg’s tweet was a reference to a key initiative announced at the meeting: the C40’s collaboration with International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)—Local Governments for Sustainability—to develop a standard for measuring city greenhouse-gas emissions.

ICLEI’s new effort is building upon years of accounting experience, including WRI’s —now the leading international accounting tool for businesses and governments to measure greenhouse-gas emissions. WRI has begun developing a city-level emissions accounting framework tailored for China. WRI’s city framework will measure both direct and . This means that emissions from goods and services produced and consumed by city residents would be included in a city’s emissions assessment.

Our goal is for WRI’s city accounting framework to complement and align seamlessly with ICLEI’s standard, so that cities all around the world are able to accurately measure—and thereby manage—their greenhouse-gas emissions.

Bus rapid transit

Another exciting possibility for cities lies in (BRT). BRT systems comprise dedicated bus lanes, large buses with multiple doors to make boarding and exiting faster, and stations where you can buy your ticket before you get on the bus. These systems provide transportation to more people, more efficiently than ordinary bus lines.

Cities are installing these systems because they bring reductions in cost, commuting time, and traffic, among other reasons. But another co-benefit of BRTs is the reduced emissions:

They encourage people to uses buses instead of cars or motorcycles.

They are much more efficient than regular bus lines and therefore use less fuel.

They can even…

Source: Cities can lead on climate-change solutions—here’s how.