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From Copenhagen To Paris, Cities And Mayors Are Leading The Way On Climate Action

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The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and research partner Arup released Climate Action in Megacities (CAM 3.0), a groundbreaking and definitive assessment of how the world’s leading mayors have taken on the urgent challenge of climate change.

Since the last major COP in Copenhagen, C40 cities have taken 10,000 climate actions – a doubling of actions in just six years – and have committed to reduce their CO2 emissions by 3 Gt CO2 by 2030, equivalent to the annual carbon output of India.

Furthermore, decisions taken by global cities to invest in low carbon development over the next 15 years have the potential to avoid locking in a total of 45 Gt of CO2, or eight times the total current annual emissions of the United States.

By working together, the world’s largest cities have forged a pathway to low carbon and climate resilient development. By showing what cities have already done, are currently doing, and have the potential to do, cities and mayors provide a positive message going into COP21 that nations, too, can agree upon and deliver ambitious climate action.

C40 cities understand what is at stake: 98% of C40 cities recognise the risks of climate change; while 70% report that they are already experiencing its impacts. As a result, cities have taken 10,000 actions including establishing incentives for building retrofits, installing energy-efficient LED streetlights, developing city-wide adaptation plans, building bus rapid transit lines and financing waste-to-energy projects – actions that not only reduce greenhouse gas emission but increase cities’ liveability. CAM 3.0 analysed actions taken by 66 cities across twelve sectors (e.g. adaptation, energy supply, finance, waste) and 50 action areas.

The urgency to act is greater than ever. Recent C40 research shows that global urban policy decisions before 2020 could determine up to a third of the remaining global carbon budget that is not already “locked-in” by past decisions.

“If cities can work together to tackle climate change, nations can too,” said C40 Chair and Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes. “By demonstrating the ambition, scale and impact of urban climate action, Climate Action in Megacities 3.0 should provide hope to the world and a backbone to the climate negotiators assembling in Paris this month to agree on a new, universal climate change accord.”

“We’re in better shape going into Paris than we were going into Copenhagen largely because of the progress cities have made, and C40 cities have helped lead the way. It’s a great example of the power of cooperation – a lesson told in this report that I hope will inspire world leaders at the U.N.’s climate change conference.” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, who launched the first edition of the Climate Action in Megacities during his tenure as C40 Chair as part of a strategic goal to empower cities with data.

“The Road to Paris is a road that leads to and through a C40 city deeply committed to climate action,” said Mayor Anne Hidalgo. “Paris is a concrete example of how actions taken locally – whether a bikeshare program, a building retrofit program or even hosting international climate talks – can have widespread global impacts. Parisians are extremely proud of the steps we are taking to tackle climate change and hope our efforts can inspire global leaders to strengthen their pledges as well.”

As the world’s most extensive quantitative study of city climate action, CAM 3.0 documents and analyses the nearly 10,000 actions taken by C40 cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve climate resilience since the failed climate negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009. The report demonstrates the ability of mayors to share knowledge across geographic, political and economic boundaries: 30 percent of climate action measured was a result of city-to-city collaboration. This collaboration is also accelerating the rate at which cities are acting – more than half (51 percent) of climate action is happening today at a city-wide scale, up from just 15 percent in 2011.

“Our research shows that cities and their partners are working together to effectively mitigate and adapt to climate change. As cities initiate and increase their climate actions, they are making themselves more attractive for investment and partnerships with the private sector” said Arup Chairman Gregory Hodkinson. “There is both need and potential to do more, and as this knowledge and expertise spreads globally, we expect to see cities’ ambitions grow as we reach a critical stage in international climate change action.”

Among the report’s notable findings, all but one C40 city participating in the 2015 survey (65 out of 66) is introducing LED street lighting, a 250% increase from just 20 cities at the time of the Copenhagen climate talks. C40 cities have started an urban solar revolution – 46 out of 66 surveyed cities are now delivering solar power generation, a 280% increase since COP 15, and four times as many C40 cities (39 out of 66) are now employing building energy management systems to reduce energy consumption in municipal buildings.

Cities have a vested interest in securing a climate safe world. Nearly all (98 percent) of C40 cities responding to the CAM 3.0 survey recognize the risk of climate change, and half are already experiencing its impacts. C40 mayors are therefore setting ambitious climate targets and long-term strategies, and making strong, direct investments in climate action, the report shows. Cities report plans to expand nearly all (88 percent) actions currently underway, up from 30 percent in 2011. They are also financing 70 percent of city-wide action themselves and report a sizeable investment of USD $2.8bn in the mere 450 actions for which cost data was provided.

Climate Action in Megacities 3.0 is the third of C40’s definitive assessments of its member cities’ climate action, following earlier surveys in 2011 and 2013. For this report, “climate action” is defined as the measures and initiatives cities take to reduce the severity of climate change (mitigation), or their exposure to the effects of climate change (adaptation). Sectors of city climate action include: Adaptation, Buildings, Community-scale Development, Energy Supply, Finance, Food & Agriculture, Mass Transit, Outdoor Lighting, Private Transport, Waste and Water.

The research was supported by researchers at the City Leadership Initiative at University College London (UCL).

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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