LONDON, MONTREAL, NEW YORK, and VANCOUVER, Dis. 17, 2020 [Press Releases] – Five years into the Paris Agreement — and before the 2021 UN climate talks in Glasgow — UK cities take drastic weather measures. Cities around the world have a lot to learn from the successes and challenges of UK peers, according to a new report released Thursday by the 1000 CITIES Initiative, which aims to bring together 1,000 cities to respond to climate change.

“Leading British cities are responding to the climate emergency by moving forward with effective and innovative climate policies, including ambitious targets, carbon budgets, and unique approaches to community engagement,” said Rebecca Foon, co-founder of the 1000 CITIES Initiative. “Other cities should take note of their approaches to cutting carbon emissions. Communities around the world need to accelerate climate action to hit the Paris Targets.”

UK cities have some of the world’s most ambitious climate targets, with many adopting goals to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2030, according to the 1000 CITIES Climate Action Best Practices in UK Cities report. In contrast, many leading North American cities have action plans that aim to reach the same goal by 2050. Others are planning for an 80% or smaller emissions reductions over the next three decades—an aspiration that we now know will not prevent dangerous levels of global warming.

“One of the key messages which Glasgow is issuing to the world as host city for COP26 is that it is cities which are leading on the delivery of national ambitions for a low-carbon and climate resilient future,” said Duncan Booker, Chief Resilience Officer and COP26 Stakeholder Manager at Glasgow City Council. “It was our cities that generated the first industrial revolution and it will be our cities that lead a just transition to a greener, cleaner economy and society.”

“Almost every city we studied had some sort of community coalition or engagement process that brought together charities, businesses, academic institutions, and other local groups. The communities collectively took ownership for climate action,” said Julia Meyer-MacLeod, Principal at SSG.

“In some cases, the community coalitions themselves were responsible for or even helped to write the local climate action plan,” added Meyer-MacLeod. “This not only gave Councils confidence to pass ambitious climate plans, but enabled cities to hit the ground running with climate actions that were pre-approved by local industry and community groups.”

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