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Third of world’s remaining carbon budget could be determined by urban policy decisions

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US Secretary of State John Kerry & Michael Bloomberg are today welcoming city mayors to the State Department at the culmination of the Our Cities, Our Climate program. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) announced a new report today, which demonstrates that 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.

Existing research has shown that investing in low carbon infrastructure in the next five years will be four times less expensive than building high carbon infrastructure now, and then having to replace it in the future. Mayors and local leaders in power today thus have a major role to play in determining whether or not we have a cost-effective and, therefore, realistic path to a climate safe world.

“This report provides hope for the future because it shows that we don’t just have to rely on the outcome of the critical COP21 negotiations, but that mayors and city leaders in office right now have the opportunity to protect a large share of the world’s carbon budget,” said C40 Chair and Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes. “The report calculates that moving from a business as usual scenario to low carbon urban development across all the world’s cities would save 45 Gt CO2 by 2030 – equivalent to eight times the current emissions of the United States.”

Scientists have previously calculated that we can emit a ‘carbon budget’ of just 1,000 Gt CO2 without creating an unacceptable risk of run-away climate change, and that much of this budget may be locked-in by investments such as fossil fuel power stations, highways and energy-hungry buildings that have already been made.

Previous research has suggested that decisions about the remaining infrastructure will be taken in the next five years, by 2020. Fortunately, C40 and SEI’s new analysis shows that a third of the decisions will be made in cities, meaning local leaders in office right now, many of whom have already demonstrated leadership on climate change, can grasp the opportunity to move on to a low-carbon path.

“This report shows how important urban policy decisions are to tackling climate change – and how mayors have great financial incentives to act,” said UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, Michael R. Bloomberg. “Investing in modern and efficient infrastructure now, rather than continuing to expand traditional high-carbon infrastructure, will be four times less expensive over the long run. It’s the latest example of how fighting climate change is good for taxpayers.”

Negotiations for a critical new climate treaty, taking place in Paris this December at COP21, concern action to be taken after 2020. But mayors can, and are, taking action right now. More than half of all C40 cities have committed to the Compact of Mayors, a global platform where cities publish their current emissions inventories and commit targets and action plans to cut future emissions. Hundreds more cities around the world are following suit and making ambitious commitments. None needs to wait for the outcome of treaties and talks to take action.

This new report is thus both a major boost in ongoing efforts to deliver a climate safe world, and provides further evidence that there needs to be a major focus on supporting mayors and action in cities.

The report was launched at an event honoring international and US mayors, including many C40 cities, and held today at the US State Department; the event served as the culmination of Our Cities, Our Climate, an historic initiative by the US Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, to leverage the leading role cities play internationally in advancing innovative climate change action.

About the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, now in its 10th year, connects 82 of the world’s greatest cities, representing 640+ million people and one quarter of the global economy. Created and led by cities, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens. The current chair of the C40 is Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes; three-term Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. To learn more about the work of C40 and our cities, please visit www.c40.org, follow them on Twitter @c40cities and like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/C40Cities.

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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