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C40 Cities To-Do List Highlights Familiar Urban Solutions

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A report late last year by C40 Cities and the Arup global consulting group lists more than 2,000 immediate actions—two-thirds of them in the buildings sector—that could reduce global carbon emissions by 45 megatonnes by 2020, the Toronto Atmospheric Fund reported in a blog post last week.

“Exciting work? Not really,” TAF acknowledges. “We are talking better boilers, good old insulation, and heat recovery ventilation. Technology oriented? Probably not—we have many excellent and proven technologies at our disposal which are simply not yet fully deployed. But a co-benefit of this work is creation of local employment, because retrofit work is labour-intensive. It also supports improvements to the indoor air quality and comfort of older buildings.”

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The report prioritizes areas like passenger transport, urban planning, walking and biking, transit, and more efficient transportation management, writes TAF Vice-President Mary Pickering. And it identifies three categories of obstacles to rapid emission reductions: economics and finance, politics and leadership, and institutional, regulatory, and legislative challenges.

“While a lack of funding represents a fairly predictable obstacle to getting on with what needs to be done,” Pickering notes, “the report strongly underscores the need for cities to support skill-building in the area of partnering.” The authors also stress that “every single one of the 27,000 city actions they identify in the report will ultimately need to be accessed to achieve the global emission reduction goals embraced in Paris. And that’s going to take quite a lot of new thinking.”