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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.

The link to the online livestream can be found here.

All attendees must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours of the event.

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, andclean 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

Andrea Fernández serves as C40’s Director of Climate Planning, Finance and Partnerships. Andrea is responsible for overseeing C40’s climate planning, finance programmes and driving new strategic priorities and partnerships. Before joining C40, Andrea worked as a consultant at Arup for 11 years. In this role, she led high-profile engagements related to sustainability and climate change in the urban environment, with a focus on policy, funding, governance and delivery strategies.

Yuill HerbertYuill Herbert, Principal, SSG

Yuill Herbert is a co-founder and principal of the Sustainability Solutions Group, a climate planning consultancy that has designed climate action plans and conduction emissions analyses for more than 80 municipalities, ranging from City of Toronto and City of Vancouver. Yuill led the development of some of the first carbon budgets in North America for the City of Edmonton, the Region of Durham, and the Town of Whitby.

 

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

Stephen is Birmingham City Council’s Head of Clean Air Zone and is responsible for its delivery and operation.  The introduction of the zone is just one of the measures that the Council is taking to improve air quality across the whole of the city as part of its Brum Breathes initiative.  Importantly, the Clean Air Zone is seen as an enabler of a number of other changes in the city which include encouraging more people to adopt active modes of travel and public transport, especially for shorter journeys.

 

Jack Skillen, Placeshaping Director, Team London Bridge

Jack has worked for 15 years in fields of urban regeneration and sustainable transport since completing his MSc in Cities, Space and Society. He is focused on achieving the placeshaping strategy for the London Bridge BID, including a vision for cycling, the ‘Low Line’–London’s new walking destination–and a sustainability strategy to make London Bridge one of the greenest and most civic minded business districts in the world.

 

Ben Knowles, CEO of Pedal Me

Ben Knowles is currently Rider and CEO of Pedal Me – the world leading cargo bike operator, transporting people and their goods around London, outcompeting motor vehicle based logistics for the vast majority of urban movements.  Before this he was a transport planner and worked on a variety of projects – including leading on introducing School Streets to London.

 

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

Marianne is an architect and Associate Principal at URBED with interests in urban design, sustainability and participative design. She holds an MSc in Advanced Environment and Energy Studies from the Centre for Alternative Technology, and is a Certified Passive House Designer. Marianne has more than a decade of experience on live retrofit projects and is also involved in the development of policy and tools to support better retrofit. Much of this work is carried out in collaboration with Carbon Coop, through the development of tools like Home Retrofit Planner and projects like the Community Green Deal. This wealth of experience now informs the People Powered Retrofit service, designed to support individuals in the retrofit of their homes. She also delivers training, development work and design work for a variety of community energy and community-led housing organisations, whilst working on scaling up retrofit in social housing – from TSB Retrofit for the Future, through work with housing associations and local authorities across the country to achieve real world decarbonisation and user-friendly outcomes.

Michael McLaughlin, Digital Lead, HACT

Michael joined HACT in January 2020, having previously accrued 16 years’ experience in various social housing roles, much of which has involved developing and managing Digital strategy and policy.  Having lead a programme on measuring impact of social housing for Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), which uses the wellbeing approach to social value aligned to the UN Sustainable Development goals, Michael has a keen interest on the the ways in which this can be increased within communities. He currently leads HACT’s sector-leading UK Housing Data Standards initiative environmental module to create a common dictionary, model, and process of data exchanges, and recently co-authored a paper on The Impact of Social Housing: Economic, Social, Health and Wellbeing.

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, REScoop.eu

Dirk Vansintjan is an expert on community energy who has been working in the renewable energy sector since 1985. He is the Co-founder and President of REScoop.eu, the European renewable energy cooperative federation. He is also the Co-founder and a board member of REScoop Vlaanderen, the Flemish federation for renewable energy cooperatives and the Co-founder and Vice-president of REScoop.be, the Belgian federation for renewable energy cooperatives. He has also co-founded Molenforum-Vlaanderen, a federation of mill conservation societies in Flanders, as well as ODE-Vlaanderen and Ecopower, a renewable energy cooperative in Flanders that has 60 000 members and supplies 1.6% of Flemish households with green electricity.

 

Jonathan Atkinson, Co-founder, Carbon Co-op

Since completing a degree in Environmental Biology, Jonathan Atkinson’s career has crossed boundaries and disciplines. He worked at two research co-ops, Ethical Consumer Magazine and Corporate Watch and in 2002  co-founded UHC Collective, a multidisciplinary art and design project. Jonathan’s interests lie at the point where urban development, art, community and politics meet. Throughout his career he has explored the potential for co-operative and collective action to create change. He is a co-founder of Carbon Co-op, a board member and staff member,  developing and project managing innovative, new low-carbon projects.

Sal Wilson, Stokey Energy

Sal worked as an architect for 10 years before training as an environmental designer at Atelier Ten, where she gained experience in a wide range of sustainability strategies. She tutors sustainable design in London at the Bartlett and the Architectural Association, and has been involved in editing the recently launched LETI Retrofit guide. Sal has been working with Stokey Energy, a local community energy group based in Hackney in London, as the group works to establish its presence in the community and seek out opportunities to reduce carbon at multiple scale across the neighbourhood.

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 Bill McKibben and Tenzin Choegyal

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

Overview: We will wrap up the Cities Taking Rapid Climate Action Now Summit with an evening reception, featuring a keynote speech by renowned climate activist Bill McKibben and tunes by the award-winning musician Tenzin Choegyal. If you would like to only attend the reception, sign up here.

Featured guests: 

Bill McKibben, Founder, 350.org

A man who needs no introduction: Bill has been a part of the climate movement for decades, writing multiple books since The End of Nature in 1989, and going on to found 350.org. He is an environmentalist, author, activist, and journalist who was awarded the Gandhi Peace Award in 2013, is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, and has been named one of the most influential people by Foreign Policy magazine, MSN, the Boston Globe, and many others.

 

Tenzin Choegyal, Grammy-nominated Tibetan/Australian Artist

Tenzin is a Tibetan/Australian artist, composer, activist, musical director and cultural ambassador. While proudly continuing the unbroken nomadic lineage which is central to his music, Tenzin also embraces opportunities to take his music into more contemporary, uncharted territory, both in the studio and on stage.

Tenzin has nine independent albums, three of them with his fusion band Tibet2Timbuk2, and regularly performs with Camerata Brisbane’s acclaimed Chamber Orchestra. His collaborative albums include The Last Dalai Lama? with Philip Glass and the 2021 Grammy-nominated Songs from the Bardo with Laurie Anderson and Jesse Paris Smith – a moving interpretation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

 

We Need to Accelerate Canada’s Green Recovery

What would happen if Canada’s major cities prioritized a green recovery in response to COVID-19? Their investments could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds by 2030, create over 2.9 million jobs, and reduce air pollution by 32%, preventing 3,950 premature deaths over the next decade. Read more

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

Vancouver’s Big Moves for Climate Action

Like many other large cities in Canada, Vancouver declared a climate emergency in 2019. Its Climate Emergency Response soon followed, with six targets—or “Big Moves”—to tackle emissions related to transportation and transit, heating and hot water systems, buildings and new construction, and carbon sequestration for local ecosystem restoration.

The overall goal? To cut carbon pollution by half by 2030.  Read more

Low carbon city.

SSG partners with CDP to support the transition to low carbon cities

SSG has partnered with CDP to support European cities in reporting on GHG emissions and climate risk. Both SSG and CDP recognise the critical role of cities in advancing a low carbon future.  

CDP has worked with over 300 cities globally to manage over 1.67 billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. CDP’s cities program demonstrates that cities are better managing their risk and increasing resiliency through more than 4,800 activities to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

“CDP has had a pivotal role in advancing climate action, firstly amongst corporations and now with cities. CDP’s work compliments SSG’s efforts to identify and implement low carbon pathways, using the lens of city planning”, says SSG Director Yuill Herbert.

SSG has fifteen years of experience working with cities, including undertaking GHG inventories using the GHG Protocol for Cities, performing emissions projections, and assessing emissions reductions strategies that consider financing, economic development, and quality of life. In Paris at COP21, SSG launched a new energy, emissions and finance model, CityInSight, designed to help cities evaluate and implement decarbonisation paths.

“SSG develops and implements comprehensive sustainability solutions for cities focused on climate action,” says Conor Riffle, Cities Director at CDP. “We are excited to welcome SSG on board as the first CDP cities consultancy partner for Europe and are confident they will continue to provide high quality services to cities responding to CDP.”

CDP offers a voluntary climate change reporting platform for city governments. The Cities program provides the world’s first global platform for municipal governments to disclose greenhouse gas emissions, climate change risks, and mitigation and adaptation strategies.  CDP collects and delivers materially relevant data for cities, the private sector, and other stakeholders.

Paddling along Toronto's Waterfront

SSG engaged to set direction on Toronto’s low carbon future.

The City of Toronto has set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by the year 2050. Reaching this goal will require major changes in the way that residents live, travel, work and consume goods and services.

TransformTO is a project that will engage Toronto residents and businesses in imagining the transformative changes needed to reach the goal, while at the same time improving public health, enhancing the local economy, and reducing social inequalities.

TransformTO cited SSG’s energy, emissions and climate change modelling expertise in engaging SSG to model scenarios that achieve the 80% target. SSG has partnered with whatIf Technologies and ARUP on this project. The team will assess a host of different emissions reduction strategies and actions that may be used to pursue the target, including new renewable energy production possibilities, energy efficiency programs, public transit options, bicycling infrastructure, neighbourhood development patterns, and solid and liquid waste diversion and treatment options.

SSG and partner whatIf Technologies will apply their cutting edge energy, emissions and finances model, CityInSight, to the task. The modelling process and outputs will contribute to establishing a decision-making framework for the City to use in identifying the best path to a low carbon future. The project will result in suggestions for key starting points and priority actions, summarized in two reports:

  • A short-term strategy (2017-2020) outlining the actions that will allow Toronto to meet its 30% emissions reduction by 2020 target through policy and programming.
  • A long-term (2020-2050) approach that will identify how to meet the 80% emissions reduction by 2050 target while generating a healthier, more prosperous, and equitable city.

SSG is excited to be working with Canada’s largest city on a project that will lead to amazing positive change, and one that will hopefully be a herald to other city sustainability planning projects.

SSG is helping towns and cities across Canada develop and implement strategies to address climate change. SSG has been actively involved in UN climate change negotiations with a particular focus on the role of cities, including most recently in Paris.  

Plan 4DE Webinar: Planning and District Energy with GGLO 1st February

In this webinar, GGLO share a perspective from planning and tell the story of developing visualisations for Plan4DE, including the lessons learnt, their observations and take you through the method and results in a fairly transparent way.

You can watch the webinar again here if you missed it and enjoy the discussion afterwards. If you have any queries about the project, please do get in touch(Please note there was an issue with recording so the introduction is missing). 

“Wonderful, and insightful, presentation.  Thanks to the presenters!  A wonderful, energy-focused tool to add to a traditional community planner’s toolbox.”

GGLO designs distinct places where communities of people connect and thrive. We seek to bring the essence of community alive in each of our projects – believing that the fundamental desire to interact and feel a part of something can be evoked through design. This perspective runs deep through our integrated practice, including planning and urban design, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and research. Integrating our skills and services allows a deep exploration for how design can have the most positive impact in any context.

Founded in Seattle in 1986, we are results-driven, multidisciplinary experts approaching all scales of our work with flexibility and inquisitiveness. Over decades of practice GGLO has established a reputation in revitalizing communities, building-by-building and block-by-block.

Pathway To Paris #20: It’s cloudy in Paris… notes from the COP21

About this service | Subscribe to this briefing  | Contact the editor

In this Issue #20

  • SSG digest from the frontline
  • An energy transformation
  • Carbon pricing everywhere
  • Divestment of risky assets
  • Ratcheting up the ambition
  • Coming to a city near you
  • Two degrees too many
  • To be legal or not to be?

SSG digest from the frontline

On Monday, 150 heads of states established an ambitious and hopeful tone for the negotiations. For a sense of the venue and the mood check out this short video from the UNFCCC.

The negotiations are heating up after little progress by diplomats so far. You can feel the energy levels increasing and the talk becoming more urgent and impassioned at the bargaining table: “We are not making anywhere near the progress we need to be making at this point”, said US official Daniel Reifsnyder, one of the two co-chairmen of the negotiations. Read more

SSG launches CityInSight: our new energy, emissions & finance model for cities and towns at COP21, Paris

The Canadian climate change and urban planning consultancy SSG launched CityInSight: an open source energy, emissions and finances model for cities, at COP21 in Paris this week.

“Cities are demonstrating the will to take on energy and emissions challenges. CityInSight enables cities to rigorously explore the impact of policies and investments on the transition to a low or zero carbon future, “ said Yuill Herbert, Director at SSG.

CityInSight is a sophisticated model with integrated spatially-explicit land-use and transportation components, and stocks-and-flows accounting. It analyses the impact of land-use and policy scenarios on energy, emissions and their associated financial and employment metrics. You can listen to the recording of the seminar we held in Le Bourget, at COP21 on 2nd December. (It starts 1:30 minutes in, and make sure your volume is turned up high..) 

Read more