In its sixth annual Cities A List, CDP has recognized 119 cities as leaders in environmental action and transparency for 2023, including 72 cities earning the recognition again.
The organization said the large number of returning A List cities shows climate action is becoming a “new norm” for many communities worldwide. Out of 939 cities reporting through CDP’s ICLEI Track, 13% of them received an A for factors such as public disclosure of environmental efforts, city-wide emissions inventories, a published climate action plan, or increased use of renewables, among others. CDP said the number of cities consistently receiving an A went up this year despite stricter criteria.
Regions Adopt Varying Environmental Adaptation, Mitigation Efforts
Cities on the list have adopted a wide range of climate adaptation measures, from conservation and waste reduction to sustainable infrastructure and green transportation.
For example, Guadalajara, Mexico, now has 38 100% electric buses as part of its first completely electric transportation route in the country, while Oslo, Norway, has restored 260 acres of bogs in order to prevent flooding and absorb water runoff.
“2023 will be remembered as the year when centuries-long climate records weren’t just broken, but smashed, in mere days and weeks,” said said Maia Kutner, director of cities, states, and regions for CDP. “While cities around the world felt the full force of the year’s climate disasters, from heatwaves to floods, it’s positive that many are leading by example in tackling climate change with tangible action.”
Europe had 48 cities on the A List, the largest share of cities of all regions, followed by North America with 42. The European Union’s Mission for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities has encouraged cities to implement sustainability plans with pathways toward carbon neutrality.
CDP Notes Increased Action by Cities in Global South, Need for Resilience Measures
CDP also reported a strong performance by cities in the Global South, with locations in Argentina and South Africa receiving their sixth A. Meanwhile, a number of cities in Indonesia, Turkey, and Vietnam were recognized for the first time.
Recent CDP data has found that 80% of cities face climate hazards like heatwaves and floods, with 70% expecting these hazards to worsen. Cities have been called upon to increase climate resilience efforts and lower emissions — the EU said urban areas account for 70% of global emissions and account for over 65% of the world’s energy consumption.
“This is no time for complacency,” said Kutner. “Cities not reporting environmental data must step up their transparency, while many more need to accelerate their efforts to reach net zero and create a more sustainable future for all, especially the most vulnerable.”