How major cities across the globe are tackling climate change

15 November 2011 | Michele Bedford Thistle, Business Manager, Government, National Security, and International Organizations, Worldwide Public Sector

​I wanted to share a new report from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) which details how the world’s largest city governments - members of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group - are working to tackle climate change. The report provides some encouraging news, as well as interesting insights for cities grappling with climate change.

According to the CDP, 48 out of 58 cities that responded this year are demonstrating awareness of local climate impacts and are taking crucial steps to make their cities more resilient. London, for example, has estimated that 40 billion pounds of carbon will need to be eliminated from the city’s emissions in order to meet the mayor’s target of reducing the city’s CO2 emissions by 60 percent by 2025. In addition to London, 26 other cities have set greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets, with two cities (Melbourne and Copenhagen) aiming for 100 percent emissions reductions by 2030. That’s an ambitious goal! But, how do cities plan on hitting these aggressive targets?

Among the CDP report’s findings, energy efficiency in buildings, reducing transportation emissions, and reducing overall energy consumption are the common themes cited by cities participating in this year’s report. For more information, I encourage you to check out the CDP report to learn how each of the C40 cities plan on cutting GHGs.

This brings to mind a recent Microsoft white paper, "The central role of cloud computing in making cities energy-smart," which discusses how IT can play a role in tackling the carbon footprint of organizations - including government. Specifically, how new technologies such as cloud computing can enable government organizations to vastly improve the efficiency of their existing IT resources, as well as take advantage of alternatives to wasteful, infrastructure-intensive computing.

Beyond improving the efficiency of existing IT systems, technology can also be used to effectively control the overall energy consumption of buildings, which is a top concern among cities. Read about how Microsoft is using powerful analytics to create buildings that are energy smart.

The need for cities to become more sustainable is not only a climate issue. There also are many economic incentives tied to environmental sustainability. Job creation, lower energy costs and economic development are all tangible outcomes that cities stand to benefit from. On the flip side, as energy costs and GHG emissions continue to increase along with city populations, cities that fail to become energy-smart are at risk of becoming too expensive to compete economically. Through the use of IT, city governments can accelerate their progress toward greater energy efficiency, enabling them to support economic growth and quality of life for generations to come.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Have a question for the author? Please e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com.

Michele Bedford Thistle
Business Manager, Government, National Security, and International Organizations, Worldwide Public Sector

Microsoft on Government Blog

About the Author

Michele Bedford Thistle | Business Manager, Government, National Security, and International Organizations, Worldwide Public Sector

Michele is focused on sharing stories from government customers creating real impact for citizens, employees, economies, and students. She joined the worldwide team from Microsoft Canada, where she was also marketing lead for several technology start-ups.