Cities launch five-year vision to tackle climate change

Ahead of national government commitments, cities around the world are taking unprecedented action to cut carbon emissions and build resilient societies.

al gore cities
Former US vice president and climate change advocate Al Gore lends his support to the Lima to Paris Action Agenda which which aims to mobilise robust actions towards low carbon and resilient societies. Image: UNFCCC

Cities across the world representing almost a fifth of the global population have launched a five-year vision to scale up actions to tackle climate change.

This five-year vision, led by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), will include building the resilience of vulnerable cities as well as improving capital flows to finance low-carbon infrastructure projects, among others.

Speaking at the launch of the vision at the Lima to Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) Focus on Cities event on Tuesday, Al Gore, former vice president of the United States and climate advocate, said that cities and subnational governments “are playing a critical role in bringing a solution to the climate crisis”.

They are “essential for enabling us to move from negotiation to implementation”, in order to achieve a global target of cutting emissions to prevent dangerous climate change, he said.

“Everyone knows the subnational governments have moved out faster than the national governments”, he told a packed room of 200 at Le Bourget, Paris, where the United Nations climate change summit talks are being held this week.

This LPAA vision will enable the world to make even faster progress, he said. “What’s happening here in Paris is a reaching of critical mass among governors and subnational leaders, who are comparing notes and in some cases outdoing each other on ever more ambitious and impressive commitments”, Gore added.

Also speaking at the launch, Segolene Royal, French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, said the vision will be finalised by next year, along with the signatories to the declaration. 

The vision outlines four objectives, namely:

  • Increasing the number of cities and regions deciding to implement an Action Plan and climate objectives;
  • Building resilience in the greatest number of cities and regions, with particular attention to vulnerable populations;
  • Improving project preparation and climate planning to ensure increased financial flows to the territories, but also accelerate the deployment of innovative economic and financial tools;
  • Supporting multi-partnership initiatives between different levels of governance.

The LPAA is a joint initiative by the Peruvian and French presidencies of the UN meetings - known as COP - which aims to mobilise robust actions towards low carbon and resilient societies.


Every great moral cause in the history of humanity has been met with a series of ‘Nos’ with fierce resistance, but after the last ‘No’, when people realise that the fundamental choice is between what is right and wrong, then comes a ‘Yes’. 

Al Gore, former vice president of the United States

In a statement, the UN said subnational authorities now make up the largest group contributing climate commitments into the UN’s Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA) database, an online portal that functions as a central clearinghouse on climate-related commitments by all entities other than national governments.

As urban areas are responsible for half of all global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), they are crucial in meeting the internationally agreed goal to keep the global average temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.

“This presents both a challenge and an opportunity to lock new urban expansion into a new development model towards climate-resilient and low-carbon societies at large scale, leap frogging the old patterns of urban life for a growing population,” said the UNFCCC.

Government negotiators from around the world are racing against the clock to finalise a universal agreement to tackle climate change by the end of the UN meeting on Friday.

While there are still key differences to be ironed out, the atmosphere has generally been optimistic.

Gore told the audience: “Every great moral cause in the history of humanity has been met with a series of ‘Nos’ with fierce resistance, but after the last ‘No’, when people realize that the fundamental choice is between what is right and wrong, then comes a ‘Yes’.”

“We’re at that point in Paris, and one of the reasons we’re at this point is because of the subnational leaders who are taking much bolder, faster, meaningful action which is changing the course of human civilization.”

Did you find this article useful? Help us keep our journalism free to read.

We have a team of journalists dedicated to providing independent, well-researched stories from around the region on the topics that matter to you. Consider supporting our brand of purposeful journalism with a donation and keep Eco-Business free for all to read. Thank you.

Most popular

Featured Events

Publish your event

More from COP21: UN Climate Change Conference

climate justice cop21
The Paris agreement is not perfect, but a constructive response would be to encourage the process. Extreme activists who describe it as a failure ironically chip away at the potential of the deal to bring about the very outcomes they desire.
coal crash
As worldwide demand for coal stalls, some experts believe the industry is now in such dire straits that it won’t be able to compete with renewables in future.
coal mountain australia
Despite its vital role in the development of Australia's economy, the future of coal looks grim in a world aiming to limit warming to below two degrees Celsius, says Newcastle University academic Gary Ellem.
UN celebrates adoption

Opinion / Carbon & Climate

The net-zero imperative

The Paris agreement has made big leaps in setting a cap for global temperature rise and international climate finance, but the important target to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions was left out, say Oxford University's Eric Beinhocker and Myles Allen.
leaf background pattern

Transforming Innovation for Sustainability Join the Ecosystem →

Strategic Organisations

ESG Book
City Developments Ltd