The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group is a network of the world’s largest cities that are committed to finding solutions to climate change. There are currently 96 cities involved globally, representing over 700 million citizens. In Canada, three cities have signed on: Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.
Over half of these cities have begun performing regular greenhouse gas inventories that meet global reporting standards, and C40 has developed a scenario planning tool that provides cities with the information they need to move toward low-carbon infrastructure and to take other emissions-reduction actions. They have also created a Clean Energy Network, a Food Systems network, and an Air Quality network, all of which are intended to facilitate peer learning among its urban signatories so that successful initiatives developed in one city can be adopted by another through guidance and information-sharing. Check out these and other amazing initiatives in their 2017 report.
This year, they delivered an “Advancing Toward Zero Waste Declaration” in which 23 cities have pledged to achieve the following goals:
- Reduce the amount of waste generated by 15 percent for each citizen by 2030;
- Reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and incineration by 50 percent; and
- Increase the diversion rate to 70 percent by 2030.
This is important in so many ways: our planetary resources are finite and we need to change the way we approach the consumption and disposal of goods and services in urban areas. So much of our waste ends up in our waterways, threatening critical ecosystems; and, our waste in landfills (particularly organic waste) produces methane, a very potent greenhouse gas.
Essentially, these cities are committing to tackle waste from all sides: by reducing the amount of potential waste products entering into circulation (e.g. banning single-use plastics), by reducing the amount of materials that are wasted (e.g. minimizing the production of surplus food and facilitating donation), and by supporting a shift towards recycling and composting to divert waste that would otherwise end up in landfills.
They estimate that this will avoid over 87 MILLION tons of waste by the year 2030.
The gung-ho spirit of this initiative is evident in this statement from Paris mayor and C40 chair Anne Hidalgo: “With this commitment, cities are getting the job done, inventing the new practices to build better cities for generations to come. One more time, the future is taking place in cities.”
Is your city one of the signatories of the Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration? If so, what have they published about their plans to reach their goals? If not, how can you let them know that you’d like them to take part?
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