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A roadmap for decarbonizing cities

The battle against climate change will be won – or lost – in cities. In the newest edition of Danfoss Impact, lowering global energy consumption and carbon emissions in cities by using the cities' own potential is being addressed.
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22 June 2023

Skyscrapers, traffic jams, shopping malls, and air conditioners. It is not hard to see why cities account for two-thirds of global energy consumption and more than 70% of annual global carbon emissions. With more than half of the world’s population living in cities today – a number expected to increase to almost 70% in 2050 – we will not reach the goals of the Paris Agreement without a deep decarbonization of cities.

Many cities all over the world have committed to ambitious climate targets and are taking steps to reduce their emissions. However, as the most recent IPCC report exposed, the 1.5°C target is moving out of reach, and it’s likely that the world will exceed 1.5°C of warming in the near term if we “keep walking instead of sprinting.” Climate change has already resulted in negative impacts  on human well-being and key infrastructure in cities. For instance, heatwaves and air pollution have intensified in cities. To prevent the worst of the climate crisis, rapid, deep, and sustained change is necessary.

“Our world  needs climate action on all fronts — everything, everywhere, all at once”  – UN Secretary General António Gutteres

The ambition of this whitepaper is to demonstrate how “everything, everywhere, all at once” can be done in cities.

 

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Roadmap for decarbonizing cities - Danfoss Impact Whitepaper

Cities account for two-thirds of global energy consumption and more than 70% of annual global carbon emissions. With more than half of the world’s population living in cities today – a number expected to increase to almost 70% in 2050 – we will not reach the goals of the Paris Agreement without deep decarbonization of cities.

Video credits: Danfoss

The zero-emission construction site of the future

Zero emissions construction sites until recently seemed unattainable, but market innovations are gathering speed and changing the construction industry. Many cities around the world are now prioritizing different ways to reduce emissions and pollution from the construction sector. However, the pace needs to increase instantly if we are to reach global climate goals.

In the next few years, the battle against climate change will be won – or lost – in cities. The solutions are there, but we need to take action in scaling them.

Let’s get started.

Key takeaways:

Only got 2 minutes? These are the key takeaways:

Energy efficiency
If all urban areas and cities in Europe, the US, and China invested in energy-efficient heating and cooling of buildings, this would contribute 20% to the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement. Reducing energy waste is possible across sectors and the technologies to do this are already accessible.

Electrification of urban transport
Electrification of urban transport needs a drastic acceleration. Similarly, an urgent political focus on the potential of electrifying the whole transport sector – including both maritime transport and heavy vehicles – is pivotal. If all urban areas in Europe, the US, and China electrified their private and public transport, this would contribute 28% to the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement. As we will see, technology for the electrification of cars, buses, and trucks, as well as marine equipment and transport such as city boats, ferries, cranes, etc. already exist.

Sector integration
Sector integraton is an enabler of energy efficiency and electrification and can together with the build-out of renewables decarbonize the power supply to cities. In urban areas, the high density of buildings, infrastructure, and services makes it possible to connect urban energy-consumers with energy-producers and convert and store energy. Supermarkets, data centers, and wastewater facilities can all be turned from heavy energy consumers into energy suppliers.

Implementation
Implementation of existing technology for buildings, transport, and sector integration can bridge half the gap in the urban GHG emissions reductions needed for a 1.5°C pathway.

Discover the White Paper

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