Focused Acceleration: A Strategic Approach to Climate Action

While the technologies and expertise exist to limit the temperature increase from climate change to 1.5°C, the challenge is still formidable. City leaders must determine the critical actions that can change their current emissions trajectories and work with stakeholders to build and invest in the infrastructure and incentives needed to make significant progress toward those targets. For this report, C40 has partnered with The McKinsey Center for Business and Environment to quantitatively assess the biggest opportunities for emissions reduction and what they will mean for cities around the world.

Four action areas emerged from the analysis:

  • Decarbonizing the electricity grid: Achieving a 1.5°C trajectory will require a massive expansion of large-scale renewable power generation, known as “decarbonizing the grid.” 
  • Optimizing energy efficiency in buildings: Building heating and cooling produces nearly 40 percent of emissions. Reducing energy use and emissions from buildings will require significantly more focused effort than most cities have currently undertaken. 
  • Enabling next-generation mobility: Ensuring that all residents have access to a variety of attractive, affordable low carbon mobility options is the key to reducing emissions. 
  • Improving waste management: Reduce waste upstream; repurpose as much useful finished product as possible; recycle, compost, and otherwise recover materials for use; and manage disposal to minimize emissions of any remaining organic matter.