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LEDS GP webinar: What cities do best – subnational integration and ideal roles for cities in climate action

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Date: Tuesday 9th February 2016
Time: 8:00am PST/ 11:00am EST / 4:00pm GMT / 5:00pm CEST
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Around the world, urban areas are responsible for a large and growing percentage of human-caused greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Because of this, mitigation actions in urban areas could contribute significantly to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A key question for policymakers, however, is how best to achieve this mitigation potential. Even where cities have political will and resources, they may face realistic limits to their ambitions, especially if a majority of other cities are not similarly engaged and coordinated in pursuing greenhouse gas reductions. Thus, cities may face significant challenges if they have to “go it alone” – maximizing greenhouse gas reductions within urban areas is likely to require concerted actions at multiple levels of government.


Stockholm Environment Institute researchers, Derik Broekhoff and Pete Erickson, will present findings from their recent study exploring “vertically integrated” approaches to city-related greenhouse gas emissions, combining policy actions at all levels of government. Among its findings are that:

  • For approximately 20 percent of urban greenhouse gas abatement potential, cities’ ideal role is to be policy leaders and architects. The greatest opportunities here are in the passenger transport sector, and include improved spatial planning, promotion of walking and bicycling, enhanced transit system development, and more efficient transportation management.
  • For another 40 percent of urban abatement potential, the ideal role for cities is to be critical implementers of nationally applied policies. Opportunities here are greatest in the residential and commercial buildings sectors.
  • For the remaining 40 percent of urban abatement, cities can be strategic partners, taking crucial independent actions to enhance the effectiveness of policies enacted at higher levels of government. For these diverse opportunities, cities could enhance national efforts through incentives, education, permitting, and infrastructure development.

A vital role for national governments will be to help coordinate and enable effective action by cities in all of these capacities. Derik and Pete will identify some key priorities using case studies from China, the United States, and Brazil.

Register for the webinar here.

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