City mayors around the globe pledge to ramp up renewables transition

Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, USA, has launched the C40 Renewable Energy Declaration to help cities around the world accelerate the transition to clean energy resources in an equitable manner.

Some 15 mayors have signed the declaration to increase the pace at which their cities are deploying renewable energy resources to create healthier communities, improve air quality, create green jobs and protect their most vulnerable residents from the impacts of climate change.

The declaration outlines three pathways that can also enable the cities to provide residents with clean and affordable electricity:

PATHWAY #1: Use 100% renewable electricity citywide by 2035; Ensure residents have access to fully decarbonised energy to cook, as well as heat and cool buildings no later than 2050.

PATHWAY #2: Achieve universal access to reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity and clean cooking fuels and technologies by 2030; use 100% renewable electricity citywide by 2050.

PATHWAY #3: Deploy clean energy systems for electricity, heating, cooling and cooking to achieve 50% of the assessed feasible potential within the city by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

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Mayors that have signed the declaration include those of London, Copenhagen (which plans to achieve carbon-neutral by 2025), Lisbon, Melbourne (Australia’s first capital city council to be powered by renewables), San Francisco, Tokyo, Tswane, Vancouver and Seoul.

The need to establish the declaration is the result of global cities struggling to reduce emissions from buildings, electricity, and heating use, which account for more than two-thirds of global energy consumption, according to a statement.

Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions, said: “Cities drive the global economy, which means they produce much of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. But cities are also leading the fight against climate change and for cleaner air – and in the process, they are creating good jobs and healthier communities.

“The more mayors around the world who commit to powering their cities with 100% clean energy, and the more concrete actions they take to achieve it, the faster we can create a stronger, healthier, and more sustainable global economy.”

With cities playing a leading role, the transition to powering and heating buildings with green energy is likely to increase, said a statement. The declaration is expected to push cities into seeking partnerships with governments, communities, technology firms and utilities in deploying renewable energy solutions.

By doing so, not only do they accelerate the energy transition and climate mitigation, but also leverage the distributed energy resources to increase electrification and address energy poverty.

Today, some 760 million people around the world lack access to electricity, according to the statement. By deploying distributed solar and district heating systems, the cities are expected to create 5.5 million green jobs annually by 2030.

Projects set to be deployed by cities that have pledged with the C40 Renewable Energy Declaration are expected to help ensure a green recovery from the pandemic.

Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, added: “Nearly half of Los Angeles’ power supply is fueled by renewable energy, and we’ve committed to achieving a 100% clean energy grid by 2035 – 10 years ahead of schedule. Through this declaration, C40 cities are showing the world that relying on renewable energy is not only possible, but more affordable, equitable, and sustainable.”

​​Chief of Government of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, reiterated: “In Buenos Aires, we know that the transition to renewable energy sources and their efficient use is one of the main ways to achieve our ambitious emissions reductions. This is why we work to promote energy efficiency: in 2019 we became the first city in Latin America to have 100% LED public lighting.”