As a resident of Las Vegas for nearly 30 years, I watched it grow from a small city of 200,000 to a thriving metropolis of 2 million. In that period, I also observed the evolution of the city’s climate. With the increase in population came the destruction of local ecology and an infusion of acres of concrete, swimming pools and golf courses. In a remarkably short time, I observed that winters changed from cold, windy seasons to a string of more temperate months. I saw summer temperatures and humidity rise together, resulting in seemingly interminable months of inhospitable heat.
Imagine the environmental impact of cities with hundreds of years of history and millions more people. C40 is a collection of leaders from major cities around the world who are collaborating to solve environmental issues particular to densely populated urban areas. On Sept. 22, C40 and Siemens presented their 2nd annual City Climate Leadership Awards in New York.
The organization springs from a meeting convened by former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, in 2005, who invited representatives from 18 cities to discuss global climate change. By 2006, the network grew to 40 cities and became known as C40.
C40 explains that while cities occupy only 2 percent of the world’s landmass, they make a tremendous impact on global climate.
“Cities consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70 percent of global CO2 emissions. And with 90 percent of the world’s urban areas situated on coastlines, cities are at high risk from some of the devastating impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and powerful coastal storms.”
Since its inception, C40 cities have proactively taken 4,700 separate actions to combat climate change. C40 explains further that it has been effective in implementing policy because “nimble city governments often have closer relationships with their businesses, residents and institutions than state and national governments, allowing new policies to be implemented more quickly and decisively.”
Among the C40 cities are these 11 U.S. cities: Austin, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C.
The 10 awards categories are:
- Urban transportation
- Solid waste management
- Finance & Economic Development
- Carbon Measurement & Planning
- Sustainable Communities
- Green Energy
- Adaptation & Resilience
- Energy Efficient Built Environment
- Air Quality
- Intelligent City Infrastructure
- City spotlight
The first five categories are open only to C40 cities. The last five categories are open to all of the more than 120 cities that make up Siemens’ Green City Index. The Green City Index is a research program that measures the environmental performance of these cities and draws conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of five key regions – Europe, Latin America, U.S. & Canada, Asia and Africa.
The panel of judges is made up of seven individuals from C40 and Siemens who painstakingly review applications, select finalists and then select winning cities. An 11th prize – the Citizen’s Choice – is selected from among the applicants by the public. This year, 87 applications were submitted. Reports about each of the finalists, as well as winning results in each category are available at cityclimateleadershipawards.com.
The inaugural City Climate Leadership Awards took place in 2013 at The Crystal in London. The Crystal is a Siemens Sustainable Cities Initiative and the world’s largest exhibition and events center for urban sustainability. The inspirational building by architect Wilkinson Eyre achieved both Outstanding BREEAM accreditation and Platinum LEED accreditation and is a showcase for the latest sustainable technologies. This state-of-the-art meetings venue contains seven meeting rooms, an auditorium with an occupancy of 270 and indoor and outdoor spaces to accommodate tradeshows and large events.
The environmental improvements being made to the world’s key cities are greatly enhancing the experience for residents as well as visitors, making these destinations ever more favorable for the delivery of sustainable events.
The Green Money Journal maintains a global calendar of events relating to sustainable business and investing. Access at http://greenmoneyjournal.com.