Vitoria-Gasteiz © Pixabay
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105 cities around the world including Berlin, Mexico City, Heidelberg, The Hague, Los Angeles and Iskandar have been named on CDP’s Cities A-List for their transparency and action on climate change. Almost one third (34) of the crowned cities are from Europe. Last year, only 43 cities appeared on the A-List. Due to the Coronacrisis the air is much cleaner. That effect will diminish quickly when in time most of the measures have been lifted.

Designed to push cities to ramp up their climate action and ambition, CDP’s scoring and A-List is based on data reported by over 850 cities in 2019. Cities measure and report key environmental data like their emissions, climate-related vulnerabilities and actions to reduce emissions and adapt to risks. They are scored ‘A’ to ‘D’ – based on completeness and quality of their data, and the level of action taken.

To score an A, a city must have a city-wide emissions inventory, have set an emissions reduction target, published a climate action plan and have completed a climate adaptation plan climate to demonstrate how it will tackle climate hazards now and in the future among other actions. It’s up to the cities themselves to join the competition.

CDP says that on average cities on the A-List are taking over 3 times as many climate actions as non-A List cities. This represents five times as many actions to cut emissions and curb future warming, and twice as many to adapt to current climate hazards, from flooding to extreme heatwaves.

“Climate science leaves no doubt that global emissions must be halved by 2030 to limit the effects of the global climate crisis”, commented Kyra Appleby, Global Director of Cities, States and Regions at CDP. “Cities play a crucial role in meeting this challenge: covering just 2% of the earth’s surface, they are the source of 70% of emissions.”

Manchester and Vitoria-Gasteiz

One of the European cities on the list is Greater Manchester. Mayor Andy Burnham says he wants to send a message to the world that “the time to act is now, and we need to be setting – and holding ourselves to – the highest standards. From our plans for an integrated cycling and walking network to putting environmental sustainability at the heart of public decision-making, to working with businesses to support innovation in decarbonising the economy, we recognise that the climate crisis requires change at every level. We’ve set out our vision for reaching net-zero by 2038, twelve years ahead of the national UK target. Transitioning to net-zero carbon presents its own opportunities as well, with the potential for new jobs and growth in everything from renewable energy to our thriving digital and tech sectors.”

One of the reasons why Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain) is on the A-List, is because of its parks. Nobody in the city lives more than 300 meters from a green space. Recently, the city has planted over 165,000 trees, well over half of its initial target of 250,000, making it the provincial capital with the highest density of green areas per inhabitant. Ana Oregi, Councillor of the Department of Territory and Climate Action in Vitoria-Gasteiz says the city’s ‘Green Belt’ is a great asset. For years we have harnessed green infrastructure and nature-based solutions to build a healthy, liveable, and climate-resilient city. This has only grown in importance for us in light of the Paris Agreement and the latest climate science.”