CDP report highlights need for equitable and people-centric climate action

The 2022 CPD Cities Report based on data from 998 cities all over the world has identified people-centered climate action as one of the keys to limiting global warming to 1.5°C, while at the same time providing significant co-benefits that make cities healthier, happier, and more inclusive places for its citizens.

63% of the reporting cities shared that they are taking at least one people-centered climate action, where stakeholders are taken into account during the assessment, target-setting, planning, or implementation stages. At least 75% of cities considering their stakeholders in climate action are able to enjoy seven times as much co-benefits versus other cities, including better water quality, better public health, more job creation, deeper social inclusion, and better protection for vulnerable groups.

Cities taking people-centered climate action are also taking 50% more climate actions than average.

Cities are at the forefront of climate change

Experts estimate that around 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from cities. At the same time, cities are the most vulnerable areas to climate change. 80% reported that they faced significant climate hazards this year, including extreme heat waves, intense rains, droughts, and urban flooding.

64% of cities are also feeling the significant systemic impacts of such hazards. Globally, these impacts include serious health issues such as heat-related illnesses, respiratory diseases, vector-borne diseases and infections, and direct physical injuries and loss of life due to extreme weather; as well as serious economic issues such as threats to water supply, agriculture, sewage and waste management, transportation, electricity, and gas.

Despite of and due to the statistics above, cities are also the solutions against climate change, the first step of which is to measure the problem.

Of the 998 reporting cities, 55% have already conducted a climate risk and vulnerability assessment (CRVA) and 61% already have their greenhouse gas emissions inventory (GHGI).  46% have used these measures to set city-wide emissions reduction targets, 52% have mitigation plans, and 45% have adaptation plans.

How can people be involved?

To have people-centered climate action means to assess and consider the needs of citizens across every stage of action. People-centricity can be achieved through considering vulnerable populations and water security; having goals or plans that address energy access, transport, waste, water, agriculture, forestry, and other land use, food, and/or air quality; and engaging civil society in climate action planning.

Over 600 reporting cities are taking people-centered climate action based on the definition above. Specifically, 45% are engaging civil society, 39% take into account vulnerable populations, and 33% take into account water security.

Undertaking effective and inclusive climate action

Moving forward, CDP recommends cities to set science-based climate targets, develop climate action plans towards these targets, and undertake CRVAs in order to measure and manage their climate impact. However, for such actions to be effective and inclusive, cities should identify key stakeholders to work with and put people at the heart of their climate action initiatives.

In doing so, cities can better improve lives, unlock co-benefits, and make themselves sustainable in the long run.

The 2022 CPD Cities Report was based on the data reported by 998 cities through the CDP-ICLEI Track platform by 16August 2022. The datasets can be accessed for free via the CDP Open Data Portal.

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