All you need to know from C40 at COP26 today

By C40 Digital Staff

Hello, and welcome to C40’s coverage of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

We are on the ground at COP26 to bring you the latest news, key announcements and proceedings from Glasgow, for what is being penned as our best and last chance to stop runaway climate change.

Day 8 at COP26 is Gender + Science and Innovation day, highlighting the need to ensure full participation of women and girls in climate action, as well as exploring the innovations that can deliver sustainable solutions.

UPDATE: 8:00pm GMT

Innovation at the heart of city climate action

The clean energy transition will create good-quality jobs and bolster local green economies. With increased climate investments, cities can roll out more innovative shovel-ready projects that lower emissions while supporting sustainable jobs, according to recent C40 research.

The Sunnyside Solar Farm in Houston not only transforms a closed landfill into a solar farm, but also includes community recreation areas, landscape buffers and bioretention zones, and a community greenhouse. © Wolfe Energy

The opportunity to innovate is on display in Houston, where construction has started on the Sunnyside Solar Farm, which is set to transform a closed landfill into one of the largest U.S. urban solar installations, generating electricity for 12,000 homes and providing local jobs.

While cities are on the front lines of climate change, they’re also incubators of new systems and strategies for developing climate solutions that will help tackle the climate crisis, all while supporting the livelihoods of residents through improved public health and good-quality green jobs.

UPDATE: 7:00pm GMT

How can we ensure a more inclusive workforce?

© ATM Milano

COP26 has demonstrated that global, systemic change at all levels of government and society is needed to limit warming to 1.5°C. With unprecedented change comes an opportunity to implement a just transition that leaves no one behind, including building a more inclusive green workforce.

Recent C40 research shows that city-level climate action is a catalyst for creating green jobs. An important step in growing a green workforce is to ensure equitable access to newly created jobs for all people, including women, through job training and workforce development policies. Milan is just one example of a city that has advanced workforce equity within its green economy.

When ATM, the municipal public transport company in Milan, hired new staff for sustainable mobility projects in 2021, the city of Milan initiated a workforce recruitment campaign designed specifically to recruit women. The city also initiated new partnerships with technical and industrial high schools to engage youth and offer specialised training.

This is just one example that shows the power cities have to ensure their economies are green and inclusive, through policies that advance workforce development and the just transition.

The push for gender equality

Advancing Gender Equality in Climate Action, hosted by UNFCCC, was today’s flagship event at COP26. Bringing together ministers, leaders and civil society representatives, as well as speakers such as Brianna Fruean, a Samoan climate activist, and Alok Sharma, the COP26 president, the event highlighted how women are the most marginalised and severely impacted by climate change.

Discussions primarily focused on how best to advance gender equality, in recognition of the work carried out by women on the front lines of the climate crisis.

“Little Amal”, a 3.5-metre-tall puppet of a Syrian girl who had ‘walked’ 8,000 km from the Syrian border, joined some of the speakers onstage. Little Amal, whose name means “hope” in Arabic, is said to represent women and girls from across the Global South, as well as child refugees.

UPDATE: 2:35pm GMT

How C40 cities are making a difference

© Arup/C40

Sustainable engineering company Arup and C40 are highlighting how cities are driving climate action as part of a joint Global Cities Climate Action Exhibition, which runs until 12 November.

A renewable energy farm in Beijing, China. © Arup/C40

With cities responsible for more than 70% of global carbon emissions, the policies and strategies enacted by cities are critical for meeting global climate targets. While these kinds of actions are “often overlooked”, city-led initiatives can create meaningful change in accelerating emissions reductions, explains Richard de Cani, Arup’s Global Planning Leader.

As well as a physical exhibition at COP26’s Green Zone, this show is available online with virtual rooms covering eleven of C40’s cities. From zero-emission buses and a hydrogen refuelling facility in Auckland, to lower carbon housing and greener cooking supplies in Nairobi, this exhibition demonstrates the diversity of positive climate action that C40 cities are spearheading.

Empowering and inspiring women climate leaders

Today, global leaders are turning to the topic of gender. Even though women make up half the world’s population and are disproportionately affected by climate change, a lack of inclusion and representation means their perspective is often missing from decision-making.

C40 is working to change this through the Women4Climate programme. Enhancing women’s participation, representation and leadership is more important than ever, as climate justice cannot be achieved without full social, racial and gender inclusion.

Women4Climate seeks to nurture the next generation of climate leaders and make sure women’s voices are heard. An ambitious global mentorship programme works with emerging young women leaders from C40 cities, matching them with mayors, city officials, and leaders from the business sector.

Meanwhile, the programme’s leadership events seek to drive the conversation on climate change and create momentum for action, as well as raising awareness with research on gender, cities and climate to highlight how women are championing climate action in cities around the world.

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C40 is a leading global network of cities taking bold and ambitious climate action to deliver a healthy, equitable and sustainable future for all.