The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C left no question about the future: at the current rate of warming of 0.2°C per decade, global warming will reach 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels around 2040, disrupting basic social and economic activities around the world.
The battle against climate change can only be won with cities. But, cities cannot do it alone. They are often limited by a lack of access to the resources required to deliver climate action. Multilevel integration can play a key role in raising national ambitions and promoting innovation and action at the local level. This includes vertically integrating investment plans of local authorities into national climate investment plans to address the urban finance gap.
Climate action has taken on a new urgency, and people across the world and across sectors are ready to “Take Ambition to the Next Level.” This was especially clear at the Global Climate Action Summit held in San Francisco, September 2018. Throughout this impactful event, we aimed to shine a spotlight on the contributions of city leaders and announced new initiatives and tools to support cities’ efforts to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change, fulfilling their commitments and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Intermediary cities play a unique and crucial role in the fight against climate change. These cities account for 30 percent of the world’s urban population, a figure estimated to rise to 50 percent in 20 years. They also play a primary role in connecting important rural and urban areas to basic facilities and services – and are where we’ll see the most impact from local leaders’ efforts to reduce global warming.
The next few years will be critical to determine how effectively we will rise to the challenge of protecting our cities, and therefore our planet. But this work can’t be undertaken blindly –we must ensure that our climate mitigation and adaptation strategies are based on sound scientific data and are tackled in an integrated manner with public and private partners.
Cities such as Quito have already proven to be central to the fight against climate change, as local governments across the world are increasingly mandating the construction of zero-emission and resilient infrastructures, from buildings to transport and public spaces, that facilitate environmental and health sustainability co-benefits. However, they are often limited by a lack of access to the required resources.
To bend the curve of emission by 2020, we – individuals, companies, investors, and local and regional governments – can and must all raise our ambition in tandem with our nation states, who will come back to the table to strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement before 2020.