European cities are leading their international peer group in climate change management and 86 percent have set a city-wide emissions reduction target compared to the global average of 70 percent, according to a recent report by the Carbon Disclosure Project and Accenture.
The Seven Climate Change Lessons from the Cities of Europe report surveyed 22 European cities and examined their emissions, strategies, risks and opportunities regarding climate change. Of these cities, which included Amsterdam, Berlin, greater London, Madrid, Milan and Moscow, two-thirds worked with their suppliers on climate change, compared to 47 percent across all regional groupings of cities reporting to CDP in 2012. Two of the cities, Copenhagen and London, show greenhouse gas emission reductions from their last CDP response.
Climate change risk assessment has become mainstream in Europe with 77 percent of participating cities reporting that they are working to understand how climate change will affect their jurisdictions. Eighteen of the 22 European cities face significant risks arising from climate change and 54 percent categorize these risks as severe or very severe.
Earlier this month, the emissions measurement organization released CDP Cities 2012 Global Report, in which the majority of city governments said climate change and shifting to a low-carbon economy could be beneficial, with 82 percent identifying opportunities like green jobs and development of new business industries.
In the US and Canada, city governments report high expectations for green job growth, according to the global cities report. Some 16 out of the 21 reporting North American cities mention green jobs as one of the potential benefits of transitioning to a low-carbon economy.
The global report features information from 73 cities and local governments this year, up from 48 in 2011. Of those cities, 51 disclosed city-wide emissions inventories. Participants include more than 75 percent of the membership of the C40, a group of mega-cities dedicated to climate change leadership, CDP said.
The cities reported emissions totaling 977,659,014 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, meaning they account for emissions roughly equal in size to the emissions of Canada and Brazil combined. The number represents an increase of 43 percent from levels reported last year, due to the larger number of cities participating in the report.
The CDP launched its CDP Cities program in 2010 to provide a system for cities worldwide to report on their greenhouse gas emissions and climate-change strategies.