“This is a code red for humanity” was the stark warning from the International Panel on Climate Change’s sixth assessment report (AR6) released August 9. The report warns that 1.5°C of warming will be reached by 2040 in all scenarios. Without transformational, urgent, and systemic change, across the world we will be subject to the most extreme heat, flooding and scarcity climate impacts.
Cities, states and regions are at the forefront of climate action but are already experiencing first-hand the devastating impacts of climate change, from extreme rainfall to flooding and droughts. CDP data found that 93% of cities are facing significant climate risks. Change needs to happen now, but it cannot happen in silos – systemic change at the pace and scale required can only happen with system-wide action.
CDP’s latest report ‘Working Together to Beat the Climate Crisis’ focuses on the need for collaboration between all actors if we are to have any chance of reaching a 1.5°C, resilient future. We urge cities, states, and regions to work with each other, as well as national governments and businesses, to ensure humanity keeps on the narrow pathway of 1.5°c warming. Climate change is a complex global problem; and one which requires global action from all.
National governments cannot achieve this feat alone - and indeed the support of government is critical to cities’, states’ and regions’ ability to tackle climate change. All forms of government, including cities, and non-state actors must be more ambitious and go further, faster, together. By working together, these actors can accelerate innovative climate action that works for both people and planet.
Ambitious cities and statescan influence the weight and urgency national governments give to the crucial goals of reducing emissions and building resilience across countries. For example, the city of Bristol in the UK gathers climate change evidence to help inform and influence government policy and shares best practice with other regions to help speed up climate action.
There is evidence of constructive competition between national and sub-national governments when one sets ambitious targets, it motivates increased ambition from the other1. Ahead of COP26 in November, governments are being urged to raise ambition by strengthening their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and long-term strategies. Their cities, states and regions could be a source of untapped potential.
Ambition is important, but cities are also telling us that they need more from national policymakers to convert ambition into implementation. Cities are reporting a need for more collaboration across all tiers of government. The lack of collaboration is a barrier to their climate adaption and mitigation – and we are running out of time to overcome these barriers. Almost one-third of cities say that their ability to adapt to climate change is dependent on factors influenced by different levels of government. While ambitious cities have the potential to influence government policy, they cannot deal with the issue of climate change alone.
Our report explores how cities are tackling climate change alongside nature-loss, deforestation and water security, among other issues. We know that climate and nature must be tackled coherently.; If we don’t approach them as two sides of the same coin, we will solve neither.
Now is the time for action. Our report shines a spotlight on the collaboration happening across the globe, looking at examples from Brazil, Italy, Kenya, Japan, the UK and the USA. We highlight the 75% of cities reporting to CDP who are collaborating or intend to collaborate with business and industry within the next two years, and the 90% of states and regions that are already collaborating with national governments.
Across the globe, we see examples of effective and innovative collaboration. In Parma, Italy,an alliance between state and non-state actors is leading the way to ensure the Province of Parma achieves its 2030 emissions reduction target, while in Nakuru, Kenya, national and international collaboration is helping to fund its climate action goals through encouraging investment in clean energy.
These examples, and many others in our report, demonstrate that ambitious climate action is happening. We just need it to happen faster and across many more countries, cities, states and regions.
To find out more about collaboration happening across the globe read the full report: ‘Working Together to Beat the Climate Crisis’