An Elegant New CDP Report on City-Wide GHG Reduction Efforts

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The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) just recently released a new report entitled “Measurement for Management,” which highlights the efforts of cities across the globe who are committed to reporting their annual carbon emission rates and who are dedicated to taking measures to lower these numbers. As has been previously reported, cities produce 70% of carbon emissions worldwide, while accounting for only 2 percent of the land. But, as has been pointed out by CDP partner and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, “cities are demonstrating that they have the will, the knowledge, and the capacity to set the agenda for climate change action” – the hope being that cities also have the combined resources and collective energy to lead the charge in combating climate change.

This year, 73 cities worldwide are reporting to CDP, with 51 of those city-wide emission inventories.  IN 2009, the U.S. had (perhaps unsurprisingly) the highest number, far and away, of total city-wide emissions reported to CDP, totaling 5,424,529,520 metric tonnes. 53 cities publicly disclosing citywide emissions this year together produce more than 977 million tonnes. These figures can be hard to put into context, but the aim, CDP claims, of collecting and inventorying this data is to organize cities into lowering these figures on a year-to-year basis. Fifty-nine cities have committed to taking a total of 630 citywide actions to lower their emission rates. Forty-seven have committed to reducing energy demand of major buildings in metropolitan areas, 47 will reduce transportation emissions, 38 will work on waste reduction, and 29 will reduce emissions through creative urban land use, creating green spaces, and planting more trees and gardens.

All in all, the report is worth poring through – it’s well organized, full of helpful and interesting charts and graphs, and delivers a solid message at its core: we can reduce GHG emissions through sheer cooperation – not every city is equal in its amount of resources and capital, but each has the capacity to participate, in some way or another, in a larger globally coordinated effort. Some of the greatest cliches are also powerful truths.

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