Cities Take the Baton in the Fight Against Climate Change
By admin March 14, 2018

Source: CNN Money (

This past week, the City of Tempe, in Arizona, has ruled to move toward using 100 percent renewable energy in its buildings and facilities. The City Council passed a measure highlighting the city’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050. This is the latest advance in the city’s tackling of climate change, an effort that started in 2014 by committing to using 20 percent of renewable energy in its buildings and facilities. Yet, the City of Tempe is only one of the many examples worldwide in which cities are becoming the driving force in the fight against climate change.

Climate change has shown once more the significant political challenges presented by collective action problems. The Paris Accords are a milestone in the global action against climate change, but their implementation is becoming significantly challenging. Given the difficulties in action at the global and national levels, cities are becoming the major hub for climate change measures around the globe. However, this should not be a surprise, because cities produce around 70 percent of the global carbon footprint, making urban areas the most important actors in the fight against climate change.

These past few years have seen significant steps taken by many cities around the world to tackle climate change. First, the CDP, a non-for-profit environmental impact researcher, published a report last month showing significant improvements in terms of city energy consumption. The report showed that from 2015 to 2017, the number of cities using at least 70 percent of their energy consumption from renewable sources more than doubled. Of their survey of 570 cities around the world, 123 were found to have transitioned toward at least 50 percent of renewable energy consumption in 2017. This is a growing trend among cities, where more than a 100 have pledged to moving towards 100 percent renewable energy consumption at some point in the foreseeable future. The Sierra Group has chronicled the commitment of over 80 cities and the state of Hawaii to move toward 100 percent renewable energy, including all areas of energy consumption.

But cities are also taking action against climate change on other areas. The most important is their work toward eliminating carbon emissions. After the World Health Organization declared Oxford as one of the 12 cities with the worst air quality in the United Kingdom, authorities decided to move toward reducing emissions. The city wants to become the first “zero-emission-zone” of the world, making it free of emissions by 2035. Despite the UK’s decision to abandon the European Union, the city has decided to follow the EU’s environmental guidelines, calling for a phase in of non-emission cars by 2020. The city has already pledged hundreds of thousands of pounds toward investing in emissions-free infrastructure.

This effort by the city of Oxford parallels the efforts of many other cities around the world. For instance, Stuttgart and Dusseldorf are planning for an emissions-car ban this upcoming year. Oslo wants to ban all cars from moving in the city center by 2019 – while Norway has put forward a country-wide ban on cars by 2025. Cities like Paris are banning cars made before 1997 and have designed streets for electric cars only. Mexico City decided to ban emissions-cars from moving in certain areas of the city in 2016, impacting the city’s air-pollution problem. Ultimately, in Bogota authorities have designed a program in which certain cars are banned from moving in the city depending on their license plate numbers. On specific days, cars having license plate numbers that end in a particular number are not permitted to move. The list of cities and the different approaches to reduce emissions is impressive, showing that when there are global difficulties to tackle climate change, local authorities can take action. Like with many other collective action problems, the example of cities and climate change confirms the maxim that “politics are always local.”

For More See

More than 100 cities now mostly powered by renewable energy, data shows

City of Tempe shooting for 100 percent green energy by 2035

100% Commitments in Cities, Counties, & States

This city is aiming to have the world’s first zero emissions zone

13 cities that are starting to ban cars


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