No more delays: state, regional and city leaders unite behind immediate, ambitious, equitable and science-based climate action  to keep 1.5 within reach | Climate Group Skip to main content
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No more delays: state, regional and city leaders unite behind immediate, ambitious, equitable and science-based climate action  to keep 1.5 within reach

11 November 2021, 10:47 UTC 7 min read

11 November 2021: On Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day at COP26 in Glasgow, state, regional and city leaders have come together to accelerate the immediate, ambitious, equitable and science-based climate action they are taking to address the climate emergency and keep 1.5 alive. They also call for national governments and other non-state actors such as businesses, trade unions and investors to join them by taking immediate action to reduce emissions in the next year, in line with delivering their fair share of halving global  carbon emissions by 2030. 

C40’s nearly 100 global city members, representing a quarter of the world’s economy, with a population of over 700 million people living and working in their cities, and the 260 members of the Under2 Coalition, which represent almost 2 billion people, are taking action now to reduce emissions from key sectors - from transitioning to 100% zero emission buses and vehicles, to passing building codes and policies to ensure all new buildings are net zero carbon by 2030, and to ensure the transition is just, fair and equitable for workers and communities. By working together, cities, states and regions seek to go further and faster to address the climate crisis: taking action on the ground to reduce emissions before time runs out. 

Recognising the increasingly urgent impacts of climate change and the need to keep global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees, the Under2 Coalition and C40 Cities are calling on Parties to the UNFCCC to deliver a “Glasgow Package” that accelerates climate action and responds to key climate justice concerns, including:

  • a timeline and process for revisiting 2030 NDCs ahead of the 2023 Global Stocktake, building on regional and local climate contributions
  • delivering the $100billion of financing for the Global South
  • ensuring that the trillions being spent to support an economic recovery from COVID-19 support a recovery that is green, just and puts the world on a pathway to 1.5 degrees
  • The recognition of the role of cities and multi-level governments in the implementation of the Paris Agreement

It is only through robust interim targets, and immediate and transformative action that leaders can effectively address the climate emergency, answer the demands of younger generations and be accountable for progress.

Meeting the climate crisis head-on requires urgency, creativity and leadership. Now is the time to increase the effectiveness and impact of cities, states, regions and devolved nations – and governments of all levels have a role to play in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“For over half of the emissions cuts needed at a global level, the responsibility lies with local, regional and devolved governments. States and regions have a unique role to play in amplifying the voices of communities most affected by climate change – but must also be held accountable for following through on the commitments they have made in order to propel global action forward.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland, European co-chair of the Under2 Coalition

The Mayor of London and Chair-Elect of C40, Sadiq Khan, said: “Immediate, ambitious and equitable climate action is needed now to reduce carbon emissions, clean the air we breathe and achieve climate justice in cities and around the world. We must take bold action now or face dire consequences - with catastrophic impacts on our environment and the climate – further down the line.

“In London, I am proud to be leading the charge with bold climate action. Last month we expanded our Ultra Low Emission Zone which is now the largest in the world, we also now have the largest zero emission bus fleet in Western Europe and a third of the UK’s EV charge points. But myself and other city leaders can only do so much alone. The time is now for national governments around the world to step up to the plate and commit to real change, so we can build a brighter, fairer and greener future for all.”

Today’s call to action follows joint 2030 commitments made by members of C40, the Under2 Coalition and the U.S. Climate Alliance this week. 68 jurisdictions signed up to actions under key sectors including the built environment, energy and nature-based solutions. The Under2 Coalition also recently announced its plans to become a ‘net zero’ coalition, with all members setting targets that will set them on course to be net zero by 2050, with pathways in place to make meaningful progress by 2030.

Actions by C40 Cities and the Under2 Coalition have been included as part of the UNFCCC Race to Zero, a campaign developed to rally climate leadership for net zero emissions ahead of COP26. This is at the same time as actions from subnational governments have been included in the Race to Resilience campaign to build global climate resilience and ensure that people and nature are put first in a changing world.

Since its launch in November 2020, Cities Race to Zero has amassed a global coalition of 1,049 cities and local governments across 76 countries, representing 722 million people, that are committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and slashing their fair share of emissions to ensure global emissions are halved by 2030. A total of 48 state and regional governments have joined the Race to Zero campaign in the past year.

Cities are the biggest group of governments committed to keeping global heating to 1.5°C and their collective action has the potential to reduce global emissions by at least 1.4 gigatons annually by 2030, the equivalent of the emissions output of the fifth biggest economy of the world. The Under2 Coalition has been recognised as the international collaborative initiative with the biggest potential to reduce global emissions by 4.9 - 5.2 gigatons annually by 2030. 

Notes to Editors

About Under2 Coalition

Climate Group is the Secretariat to the Under2 Coalition, which is a group of ambitious state and regional governments committed to keeping global temperature rises to well below 2°C. The coalition is made up of more than 260 governments which represent 1.75 billion people and 50% of the global economy. Follow us on Twitter @ClimateGroup, #Under2Coalition.

For any media enquiries concerning the Under2 Coalition please contact: Sophie Benger, Senior Communications Manager, Climate Group, [email protected] 

About C40

C40 is a network of mayors of nearly 100 world-leading cities collaborating to deliver the urgent action needed right now to confront the climate crisis and create a future where everyone, everywhere can thrive. Mayors of C40 cities are committed to using a science-based and collaborative approach to help the world limit global heating to 1.5°C and build healthy, equitable and resilient communities. Through a Global Green New Deal, mayors are working alongside a broad coalition of representatives from labor, business, the youth climate movement and civil society to go further and faster than ever before. The current Chair of C40 is Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti; and three-term Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. C40’s work is made possible by our three strategic funders: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and Realdania.

Cities are accelerating action during the decisive decade of the 2020’s to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, as pursued by the Paris Agreement. Over the last four years, C40 cities have developed a series of action commitments to dramatically reduce GHG emissions in 10 key the following sectors: 

  • Zero-emission transport: procure, with our partners, only zero-emission buses from 2025; and ensure a major area of our city is zero emission by 2030.
  • Net-Zero Carbon buildings: enact regulations and/or planning policy to ensure new buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030 and all buildings by 2050.
  • Waste and Circular Economy: reduce the municipal solid waste generation per capita by at least 15% by 2030 compared to 2015; and reduce the amount of municipal solid waste disposed to landfill and incineration by at least 50% by 2030 compared to 2015, and increase the diversion rate away from landfill and incineration to at least 70% by 2030; 
  • Clean Air: set ambitious reduction targets for air pollutants that meet or exceed national commitments and implement new substantive policies and programmes to address the top causes of air pollution emissions within the city. 
  • Clean Construction: reduce embodied emissions by at least 50% for all new buildings and major retrofits by 2030, striving for at least 30% by 2025; reduce embodied emissions by at least 50% of all infrastructure projects by 2030, striving for at least 30% by 2025; procure and, when possible, use only zero emission construction machinery from 2025 and require zero emission construction sites city-wide by 2030.
  • Sustainable Food systems: align food procurement to the Planetary Health Diet, ideally sourced from organic agriculture; support an overall increase of healthy plant-based food consumption in cities by shifting away from unsustainable, unhealthy diets ; reduce food loss and waste by 50% from a 2015 baseline.
  • Clean Energy: pledge to power a green and just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic with renewable energy and take all possible steps to accelerate the full decarbonisation of electricity, heating, cooling and cooking and the phasing out of fossil fuels; either by using 100% renewable electricity citywide by 2035 and fully  decarbonised energy to cook, and heat and cool buildings within the city no later than 2050; achieving universal access to reliable, sustainable and  affordable electricity and clean cooking fuels and technologies by 2030 and use 100% renewable  electricity citywide by 2050; or deploying clean energy systems for electricity, heating, cooling and  cooking to achieve 50% of the assessed feasible potential within the city by 2030 and 100% by 2050.
  • Urban Nature: increase and enhance nature in urban environments that reduce climate risk and vulnerability, supports wider ecosystem services, and is equitably distributed and publicly accessible, by 2030.
  • Divestment: divesting financial assets from fossil fuel companies and championing investments in the green economy whenever possible.
  • Equity and Just Transition: deliver inclusive climate action that benefits all city residents equitably; deliver a just transition, providing good quality jobs for all. 

Cities joining the Cities Race to Zero commit to: 

  1. Publicly endorse the climate emergency, the need for inclusive climate action and to work with partners to deliver science-based climate action aligned with 1.5 degrees; 
  2. Reach (net)-zero in the 2040s or sooner, or by mid-century at the latest, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5° Celsius.
  3. Set an interim target to achieve in the next decade, which reflects a fair share of the 50% global reduction in CO2 by 2030 identified in the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°Celsius.
  4. Immediately proceed to planning at least one inclusive and equitable climate action as listed on that will help to place your city on a resilient pathway consistent with the 1.5°Celsius objective of the Paris Agreement and begin implementation no later than 2022.
  5. Report progress annually, beginning no later than 2022 to your usual or the recommended reporting platform.