Rio de Janeiro has become the first city in the world to reach full compliance with the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition of city leaders dedicated to reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making urban communities more resilient to climate change and regularly reporting their progress publicly.
Rio now has established a local GHG emission inventory using the Global Protocol for Community-scale GHG Emissions Inventory (GPC), the international “gold” standard for GHG emission reporting, according to a recent announcement. It also is the first Brazilian city to complete a study on climate vulnerabilities.
In 2011, Rio passed its Municipal Policy on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, which mandated regular updates to GHG emission inventories and sets an emission reduction target of 20 percent (2.3 million metric tons of emission reductions) by 2020. The city has a Climate Action Plan and is part of the Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities initiative, in January launching Rio Resilient, a comprehensive diagnostic program to assess the current resilience scenario of the city.
Elsewhere in Brazil, researchers recently completed a more than 1,000-foot-high tower that will analyse the Amazon rainforest's GHG emissions, to help better understand climate change.
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The Amazonian Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) is taller than the Eiffel Tower and will start collecting data on heat, water, cloud formation, carbon absorption and weather patterns over the rainforest later this year. It will link up with two smaller towers to collect data for 20 to 30 years.
The Compact of Mayors, launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, Michael Bloomberg, is gaining momentum in the run-up to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21).
Earlier this week, President Barack Obama announced that 15 new US cities — including several C40 and ICLEI member cities — joined the Compact of Mayors, and set a goal of having 100 U.S. cities in the Compact in advance of COP21 at the end of November.
The Compact of Mayors is a common global platform for cities to register their current emissions; GHG reduction and adaptation targets; and action plans for implementing them. Compact of Mayors commitments are analogous to the independent nationally determined contributions being pledged by nation states. In this way, cities, local and subnational governments can show their strong support, and ability to act on, an ambitious global climate agenda. To date, more than 100 cities worldwide have committed to the Compact.
In July, at a bilateral meeting with President Obama in Washington, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff committed the country to obtaining up to 20 percent of their electricity from renewable power by 2030.