Three ways companies and cities are taking the lead on climate change

(EurActiv, 20 Dec 2018) As the COP24 drew to a close last weekend, it was hard not be concerned by the political rifts the process has revealed, notably regarding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 1.5C report. But in the real economy there are clear reasons for optimism, writes Nicolette Bartlett.

Nicolette Bartlett is Director of Climate Change at CDP, a UK-based organisation which aims to make environmental reporting and risk management a business norm.

As the UN’s climate negotiations drew to a close at the weekend, it felt like a bitter sweet victory for the climate movement. The conference’s central achievement, the Paris rulebook, which will act as the framework for the Paris Agreement once it comes into force in 2020, was finally agreed to exhausted applause but it is hard not to be concerned about the political rifts the process revealed and the fact that it remains unclear whether we will see countries ramp up their ambition in 2020, as the latest science demands.

While the final text fell short of ‘welcoming’ the findings of the IPCC’s Special 1.5C Report, one of the most interesting trends to emerge at the COP24 talks has been the clear lead that European companies and cities are taking to catalyse the ambitious action that the scientists are calling for.

Here are three ways the real economy is moving ahead on climate:

  1. Cities setting the bar

From Basel to Bolzano, many European cities are not waiting for national governments to take action on climate, they are taking matters into their own hands. For example, major urban centres such as Copenhagen, Paris and Stockholm have set targets to be net-zero carbon by mid-century.

Meanwhile, Basel, Bolzano, Lubljana and Reykjavik are among the cities that already source 100% of their energy from renewables. In the UK, more than 90 cities and local authorities have committed to shift to 100% clean energy by 2050.

New research shows that globally, states and regions have committed to decarbonise at a rate of 6.2% a year to 2050, more than double the rate of the G20 national governments.

With cities home to half the world’s population and responsible for over 70% of energy-related carbon emissions, it’s crucial to have municipal leaders onboard the transition to a low-carbon economy.

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EurActiv, 20 Dec 2018: Three ways companies and cities are taking the lead on climate change