Following the agreement of the landmark global climate change deal in Paris last year, 70% more cities are now sharing data on their climate change strategies.
In total 533 cities shared data this year through CDP, the non-profit operating the global environmental disclosure platform for companies, cities and states and regions.
The biggest increase was in Africa, where four times the number of cities compared to last year shared data. Fourty-six cities across the continent disclosed information about how climate change is impacting them – 34 of them for the first time, including Accra, Cairo and Harare.
“You cannot manage what you do not measure,” says CDP’s executive chairman, Paul Dickinson. “Disclosing environmental information fuels awareness that in turn helps city leaders plan, finance and build low-carbon resilient cities.”
Cities are on the frontlines of climate change, and many are experiencing real and immediate challenges.Olympic hosts Rio de Janeiro, who are participating in CDP’s cities program for the fifth consecutive year, say in their disclosure that increasing cases of dengue fever and Zika (due to a longer summer season and more rainy days) are among some of the risks they expect their citizens to face. The city is taking several actions to address and understand climate risks, including working with NASA to map urban heat islands of the city.
The city of London highlights the business case for taking climate action in its CDP disclosure: “The Mayor wants London to be a leading low-carbon capital and maximise the opportunities from the transition to a low-carbon economy.” London also notes it could reap benefits from adaptation efforts: “Adaptation to climate change will not only manage the risk of climate driven impacts, but will bring positive benefits, including jobs, investment, economic security and a better quality of life.”
Patricia Espinosa, the new executive secretary of the UNFCCC, has hailed the rise in cities sharing their climate strategies through CDP, and adds: “When cities measure their climate footprint and seek a sustainable path to green growth powered by clean energy, they take us all further towards the global transition to low emissions and resilient development.”