“Becoming global climate governors: How cities are moving from climate ambition to coordinated action and delivery”, Hannah Abdullah (CIDOB, Barcelona)

Over the past decade, global policy discourses have increasingly recognised city-level action as vital to keeping the 1.5°C goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement within reach. The Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action launched at COP22 in 2016 was the first formal framework to engage cities in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process. In 2021, COP26 further consolidated the partnership with cities by highlighting the central role of local communities for mitigation and adaptation in the Glasgow Climate Pact. While responsible for around two-thirds of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, cities are also leaders in policy innovation to tackle the climate emergency. Over the past decade, many local authorities have invested in strategic mitigation actions such as renewable energy infrastructure, energy efficient building and retrofitting, public and shared transport, circular waste management and digitalisation. At the same time, adaptation actions to build up urban resilience to climate risks, ranging from flooding to extreme heat, are on the rise. Local innovation has been accompanied by a surge in transnational collaboration around urban climate governance, making it one of the most prominent areas of city diplomacy. Much of this momentum has come from global city networks that tackle environmental challenges, such as C40 Cities, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Energy and Climate (GCoM). Operating as informal multilateral organisations, these networks support and coordinate local responses to the global climate emergency.

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