World leaders gathered last week in Glasgow, Scotland for the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference. Conversations included country negotiations and commitments for a better planet. The data, statistics and country testimonial can be overwhelming. At ID360 we work with city governments to develop, implement and manage their climate action plans so we took a closer look at the information coming out of Cop 26 to ask: What role do cities play?

Transition from Fossil Fuels

In order to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2030, the world needs to cut the rate of greenhouse gas emissions by almost 27 billion metric tons a year.

Cities have a real opportunity to lead in this area. City governments are more nimble than state or national governments. They can set time-bound aggressive targets to transition to sustainable policies and implement local reach codes. Cities also have a direct line to community stakeholders. Community support is critical to the success of any climate action plan.

California cities are at the forefront with 35 cities banning the use of fossil fuels in new residential buildings.

Financing change

Much of the conversation coming out of Scotland was related to the cost of transitioning to renewable energy. The good news is we have seen a deceleration of costs for clean technologies as more businesses have entered the space and more technologies are now available. According to a recent Market Watch Report, wind has gotten 45% cheaper, with the cost of solar down 85% and batteries, such as for electric vehicles and solar storage, down 89%.

Additionally, with the introduction of the Infrastructure and Investment and Jobs Act there will be federal subsidies available for much of the work at the city and state level.

Cities account for 55% of the global population, but contribute 75% of carbon dioxide emissions. They can do better. They are positioned to lead. And we are here to support.