The C40 network: Because countries are too slow in protecting the climate

It is too cold? We turn on the heating - full power. One hour later it is getting to warm. We open the window. Heating and cooling of buildings - spaces where people live and work - are with approximately 40% one of the greatest source of emissions from cities. City planners must think about redeveloping housings to prevent energy dissipations. A lot of cities can reduce easily 20-55 percent of the total gap in their emissions abatement targets by improving how their buildings consume energy.

 Denis Havlik (AIT) and Andrea Geyer-Scholz (My Climate Service)

Denis Havlik (AIT) and Andrea Geyer-Scholz (My Climate Service)

C40 is a network of cities worldwide that deal with climate change, originated in London in 2005. The network supports cities to collaborate effectively on climate change. Experts share their knowledge to adopt measures sustainably. Andrea Geyer-Scholz from My Climate Service attended a meeting in Athens together with Denis Havlik from AIT (Austrian Institute of Technology) to exchange learnings about climate services and to find out what would be necessary to deliver on the CLARITY project, since the network connects science and industry.

One year after C40 was founded by Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London in 2005, the network grew up to 40 megacities - the number that was decisive for its name. The network now includes 96 cities, also connecting smaller climate protection pioneers such as the small German city Heidelberg. The C40 network represents in total more than 700 million inhabitants which means these cities are committed to delivering on the goals of the Paris Agreement. The network brings together the mayors to act at their local level and to call on the national politics. The mayors meet at irregular intervals to discuss joint strategies to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Since a couple years the network also has been concentrating on science and industries. For this purpose, the "C40 City Solutions Platform" was created as a separate suborganization.

Each C40-city has the potential to fulfill more than 40% of the required emissions reductions. The benefits of urgent climate action by cities are clear: Those cities which make the sustainability transition fastest will be the healthiest, wealthiest, most livable cities of the future. Therefore, the C40 Steering Committee developed guidelines and a commitment to a 2020-Deadline for a consistent climate action plan. Furthermore, C40 has successfully fundraised money for more than 40 cities across Africa, Asia and Latin America, to be able to realise their climate action plans. European cities that belong to the network so far are: Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Basel, Berlin, Copenhagen, Heidelberg, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Rotterdam, Stockholm, Venice and Warsaw. The most successful cities you can see here:

 (c) C40 report.PNG

(c) C40 report.PNG

“In order to achieve a climate safe world, we must keep temperature rise at or under 1.5°C above the pre-industrial average”

(C40 report 2017)

The C40 Participation guidelines for the membership include mandatory requirements:

  • setting a target for reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions;

  • developing a climate action plan with concrete initiatives to meet the target;

  • actively sharing best practice examples with other cities through the C40 networks.

Savings should be made in four areas: Energy, buildings, transport and industry. Offices in Rio, New York, Beijing, Paris, London and Copenhagen coordinate the work.

Cities have to become active themselves which is best done through direct exchange

 Sunny Athens (c) AGS

Sunny Athens (c) AGS

In Athens there was a 2-days-workshop of experts at the end of September exchanging their knowledge about climate solutions which would reduce the urban temperature and mitigate urban heat island effect within the city. Andrea Geyer-Scholz joined together with CLARITY-colleague Denis Havlik (AIT) to find out more about the "C40 City Solutions Platform" in general, which is operated out of London together with the Danish company “CLEAN Cluster”.

“For us it was a unique chance to come together with about 60 very different people. It was instructive how workshop participants developed solutions. The next step is to evaluate the proposals and put them out to tender for an implementation. Several representatives were present - people of the City of Athens, urban planners and scientists as well as numerous participants from consulting and industrial companies, including international heavyweights such as ‘Arup’ or ‘Ramboll’”, says Andrea Geyer-Scholz afterwards. “Talking also about our method and CLARITY-marketplace was a great opportunity to connect with C40 - together we can develop our processes and advise cities even more.”

The C40 network is growing constantly. This might put pressure on national governments to act more quickly in terms of CO2 emissions which has a huge impact on ongoing climate change.