With the percentage of people living in cities projected to rise to 68% by 2050, resulting in high energy consumption, greater infrastructure needs and, carbon emissions, cities have a critical role to play in the race to reach net zero carbon.
Of course, the goal should be carbon-negative, not just net-zero: we need to restore our climate, not just stop damaging it.
To help address this challenge, on September 22, 2021, the World Economic Forum released the first iteration of its Toolbox of Solutions, designed and built in collaboration with Accenture.
“Urban ecosystems are pivotal in our global journey to net zero, driven by clean and smart electrification. These sustainability initiatives can help accelerate efforts to address climate change with practical and integrated energy solutions for urban transformation for cities of any size around the world,” said Jean-Marc Ollagnier, Chief Executive Officer, Europe, Accenture.
The toolbox is an interactive digital platform containing more than 200 practical solutions to help city leaders, national governments and businesses evaluate and identify optimal solutions for near-term implementation, kick-starting their decarbonization journey. Hopefully, future versions will provide a blueprint for integrating decarbonization into a city’s strategic revitalization or resilience process, such as this one.
The first-of-its-kind toolbox draws on input and case studies from more than 110 cities, businesses, academics, civil society leaders and other urban stakeholders around the world and across sectors to capture best practices and case studies for urban transformation and decarbonization.
The solutions include policy, business and finance models that result in reduced emissions and other valuable outcomes such as job creation and improved air quality. These solutions are also tailored to specific city attributes including the electricity grid’s health, local population density and income level.
“Decarbonization solutions already exist – we don’t need to wait for the next big innovation. This platform provides examples of policies and business models that have been used successfully around the world. We are starting with 200 solutions and expect to have many more over the course of the next year,” said Kristen Panerali, Head of Energy, Materials and Infrastructure Programme, Net-Zero Carbon Cities, World Economic Forum.
Achieving net-zero emissions at city scale will require a transformation in how energy is produced, distributed, and consumed. A related report shows how the built environment and mobility can serve as a catalyst for urban transformation and decarbonization anywhere in the world.
The Toolbox of Solutions is part of the Forum’s Net-Zero Carbon Cities program, which brings together businesses with city, regional and national government leaders to accelerate urban transitions to a net-zero future. The program’s objective is to align and scale efforts across businesses, cities and national-level governments to deliver urban ecosystems that are sustainable, resilient and equitable.
The program aims to enable transformation towards clean electrification and circularity, using integrated energy solutions to address energy, buildings and mobility. The Net-Zero Carbon Cities program is co-chaired by Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Schneider Electric, and Francesco Starace, Chief Executive Officer, Enel.