Cities can lead the renewable shift and quit fossil fuels, new CDP report findsWe Mean Business
A new analysis of the energy trends in 162 major cities across the world, released today by CDP and AECOM, shows that a complete shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy is not only possible, but is already happening. The study finds that Latin American and European cities are leading the way on sourcing their electricity from clean sources, averaging 76% and 59% of clean power respectively.
The CDP findings stress that the “city transitions to clean power will continue, with 96 cities taking actions to decarbonize their energy supply. And these cities understand the business case for doing so: 86% of these cities reporting actions say they see economic opportunities from efforts to tackle climate change.”
Cities currently account for about 70% of all energy related CO2 emissions, which makes early climate actions at a local level urgent and inevitable. And as local administrations across the world acknowledge the economic, health and environmental costs that come with fossil fuel dependency, they are starting to set the environmental bar higher and change track
That’s why cities like Santa Monica, San Francisco and Stockholm aim to source 100% of their electricity from renewable energy, while cities like Aspen, Colorado or Burlington, Vermont have already achieved the target and have positioned themselves as climate leaders.
Karin Wanngård, mayor of Stockholm, acknowledges the challenges that the target poses, but is confident that switching to renewable electricity is possible: “I have set the ambitious goal for Stockholm to be – not just climate neutral – but fossil fuel free by 2040. I am fully aware that the city must excel in all aspects to reach this goal.”
“Measuring and reporting our progress are extremely important tools in helping us succeed”, she adds, “and to ensure that the City of Stockholm continues to be a frontrunner when it comes to fighting climate change.”
Through the CDP platform, cities can in fact update their commitments and their data every year, which helps them track their progress. The City of Austin, for instance, set a target of sourcing 55% of its electricity from renewables by 2025, but its energy efficiency programs and its investments in renewable energy will allow it to meet the target four years in advance.
As well as showing how climate actions are growing and spreading across the planet, the report also uncovers the different challenges that cities face. Geographical differences are apparent, with cities in the Asia-Pacific region currently relying on only 15% renewable energy, and North-American and African cities sitting “somewhere in the middle”, as the report states. Many cities also pointed to the need for additional funds to support their low-carbon transition – showing that the private sector can play a major role in driving the low-carbon shift and exploiting the opportunities opened by these new markets.