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Join Us For Our Summit: Cities Taking Rapid Climate Action Now

Enough talk! It’s time to act. Join us on Wednesday, November 3, on the sidelines of COP in Glasgow to explore how cities are quickly and effectively moving from planning to implementing climate action. Our Summit—Cities Taking Rapid Climate Action Now—will bring together urban climate action leaders to explore what more municipalities and local governments can do to accelerate climate action. To register to join us in-person or virtually, sign up for a ticket on eventbrite. More details about the event, including the speakers and schedule, are provided below.

Lunch and snacks will be provided to those attending in Glasgow. The event will end with a reception featuring special musical guests.

Summit Overview

As the impacts of climate change accelerate, cities must urgently move from declaring climate emergencies to taking climate action. Join us for a series of panel discussions and participatory problem-solving sessions in which we will hear from cities that have effectively moved from planning to implementation, as well as urban climate action experts from Sustainability Solutions Group and beyond. We will explore transformational moves, as well as creative and scalable solutions, including carbon budgets, rapid multi-building retrofits, and clean air zones. We will learn about what is effective and working, and discuss how to create an accelerated response to climate change at the local level.

A special focus of the Cities Taking Rapid Climate Action Now Summit will be 1,000 Cities for Carbon Freedom, a project and report focused on climate action best practices from UK Cities.

Summit Schedule and Speakers

Panel 1: Carbon Budgets: Accounting for A Net-Zero Future

Time and format: 11:00am UK time, in-person and live broadcast

Overview: This panel will explore how cities are using carbon budgets as an accountability mechanism and tool to align municipal and community actions with climate action goals. Come and gather insights into how you can implement a carbon budget in your community!

Speakers:

  • Andrea Fernandez, Director of Climate Planning, Finance, and Partnerships, C40
  • Yuill Herbert, Principal, SSG

Panel 2: Creative Solutions for Decarbonizing Transportation

Time and format: 12:00pm UK time, in-person and live broadcast

Overview: How can cities quickly and effectively decarbonize transportation? This session will explore novel solutions beyond electric vehicles and transit planning, such as Clean Air Zones, car shares, and decreasing last mile shipping emissions with electric cargo bikes.

Speakers:

  • Stephen Arnold, Head of Clean Air Zone, Birmingham City Council
  • Jack Skillen, Placeshaping Director, Team London Bridge
  • Luke Murphy, Head of the Environmental Justice Commission, The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Panel 3: Taking Retrofits to Scale

Time and format: 1:30pm UK time, in-person and live broadcast

Overview: In order to achieve net zero, cities must retrofit virtually all existing buildings for energy efficiency. This panel will explore novel approaches to retrofitting en masse and at scale, while keeping equity in mind.

Speakers:

  • Marianne Heaslip, Associate Principal, URBED
  • Michael McLaughlin, Digital Lead, HACT

Panel 4: Mobilizing Communities for a Just Transition

Time and format: 2:30pm UK time, in-person and live broadcast

Overview: Broad public support is key to climate action. In addition, local communities can invest in and help cities advance climate action. This session will examine how communities can get involved with climate action from planning through to implementation.

Speakers:

  • Dirk Vansintjan, President, European Federation of Citizen Energy Co-operatives
  • Jonathan Atkinson, Co-founder, Carbon Co-op

Session 5: Open Space – Participatory Discussion on Accelerating Climate Action

Time and format: 2:30pm UK time, in-person only

Overview: What is the best way for cities to rapidly decarbonize with the resources they have at hand? How can cities and local governments accelerate climate action in the climate emergency? Summit participants will be invited to propose topics for discussion in breakout sessions facilitated by the summit organizations. The outcome of this session will inform the development of a City Climate Action Handbook that documents the insights from the summit.

Closing Reception With Special Musical Guests

Time and format: 5:15pm – 7:00pm UK time, in-person only

 

How One City De-Polarized Climate Action

Since Mayor Don Iveson’s election in 2013, Edmonton has developed one of the most ambitious climate action plans in Canada. The City plans to double its population while achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and, to our knowledge, is the first municipality in North America to integrate a carbon budget into its official plan, setting a cap on how much the community can emit, ever.

Edmonton has also taken steps to galvanize global climate action. In 2018, Iveson had a summit with mayors from around the world that led to the Edmonton Declaration, a call-to-action for mayors to take urgent action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Thousands of cities and authorities, including Indigenous groups, signed on.

“It’s recognition that we’re part of an international movement of local governments who’ve been leading on this for decades,” Iveson said.

Earlier this year, SSG had a chance to sit down with Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and talk about his climate action legacy (Iveson steps down after the municipal election on October 18). We spoke to him about what motivates him to take action, why Edmonton developed a carbon budget, and how the City built public support for climate action.

“Public engagement is the most important dimension of this,” he told us, noting that the City invited young people to speak at meetings on climate change and help decrease divisions. Their presence “makes it hard for decision makers to play the division of wedge politics in front of kids who will suffer for that,” Iveson explained.

The City also created a citizens’ advisory committee of locals with relevant expertise who gave advice to the City and Council on their climate action plan, in addition to bringing together a Citizens’ Panel made up of a diverse and representative group of Edmontonians. The panel deliberated on how the City should respond to energy and climate challenges, and provided recommendations to the City.

Most of those skeptical of the science came around to supporting climate action, noting the economic and health benefits of climate action, such as stable electricity prices and cleaner air, Iveson explained. “We need to be anti-polarizers.”

Watch the full interview above.

The Art and Science of City Carbon Budgets

In 2017, the City of Oslo pioneered a game-changing approach to fighting climate change: the carbon budget. The budget sets a cap on how much the city can emit before 2030, when Oslo plans to become carbon neutral, and divides that amount into annual budgets. The City’s finance department considers the budget alongside its finances when making decisions. The City describes it as the “most important management tool” for achieving its ambitious goal of net-zero emissions by 2030.  We couldn’t agree more.  Read more

SSG + City of Edmonton Present on Carbon Accounting Frameworks at Sustainable Communities Conference 2020

On October 22, Yuill Herbert and the City of Edmonton’s Abhishek Chakraborti teamed up to deliver a presentation on developing carbon accounting frameworks to manage GHG emissions at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Sustainable Communities Conference. Read more

SSG Co-Founder Yuill Herbert in National Observer

Last week, Edmonton city council passed a historic plan—the first in Canada to incorporate a carbon budget limiting how many greenhouse gas emissions the city can emit.

SSG helped crunch the numbers behind the ground-breaking carbon budget and we hope Edmonton will be the first of many Canadian municipalities to take this step. Read more