Cities and Decarbonization:An Atmospheric Reality Check


Mr. Sachs began by saying that we now know that we can no longer have a fossil fuel energy system. We have exceeded our carbon budget. Reaching 2 degrees celsius is already a dangerous place, but it will be extremely hard to stay below that number. We have to decarbonize the world’s energy system, which means not small changes but big changes. By 2070 we need to be a carbon neutral society globally; how can we accomplish this? This means zero emission vehicles. Gas is a dead end; we need solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, carbon capture or other zero emission energy sources. Stockholm will get to zero emissions by 2040, compared to NY which will reduce by 80% by 2050.

Mr. Sachs said that the strategies humanity needs to focus on Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Projects, which, according to its website, is “a global collaboration of  energy research teams charting practical pathways to deeply reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their own countries. It is predicated on taking seriously what is needed to limit global warming to 2°C or less.” It aims to get down to 1.5 tonnes CO2 emissions by 2050 and 0 by 2070. He ended by asking countries to submit not only INDCs but also DDPPs.

Ms. Wanngard spoke next on behalf of her city, Stockholm. When asked for three key pieces of advices to give to other cities, she answered with the following: to build a terrific carbon neutral public transportation system. If you have a housing shortage, make sure the builders build climate neutral structures. Finally, make sure universities, government, and public sector have the proper technological innovations.

COP21 ICLEI “TAP Talk” with Jeffrey Sachs

December 3, 2pm – 2:30pm.

Agora Hall, Cities and Regions Pavilion, Le Bourget (“Green Zone”), Paris, France

Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University; Monica Fein Mayor of Rosario, Argentina; Karin Wanngard, Mayor of the City of Stockholm, Sweden; Monika Zimmermann, Deputy-Secretary General, ICLEI

Written by: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project

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