Science-based targets for nature to be developed for cities

The Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) has unveiled plans to develop a target-setting process for cities to champion nature in a bid to respond to the climate crisis.

Science-based targets for nature to be developed for cities

The new Cities’ Science-Based Targets for Nature programme was unveiled during Buildings Day at COP28 (6 December). It aims to create science-based indicators and frameworks that allow cities to set targets to cover nature and climate.

“This initiative comes as a crucial addition to ongoing efforts in understanding the intricate relationship between cities, climate goals, and the burgeoning realm of nature-related objectives. It builds on the existing work of SBTN and will help equip cities to do their part to halt and reverse nature loss,” said Patrick Frick, founder of the Global Commons Alliance, of which SBTN is a part.

The programme is set to be established over the next 18 months, at which point the first published guidance will be available for cities. The SBTN is developing the indicators in partnership with CDP, WWF, WRI, C40, ICLEI, Durham University, TNC, and Arup.

City life

Cities are estimated to account for 57% of the global population and this could rise to 68% by 2050 according to the World Bank. Any net-zero future will require massive efforts from urban regions.

The new framework comes just weeks after research from CDP that cities are increasing demand for sustainable infrastructure.

Based on the environmental data provided by more than 1,000 cities through CDP’s climate disclosure system, approximately 2,346 climate-related infrastructure projects, valued at $146bn, are underway across 636 cities in 86 countries. These projects are seeking $65bn in investments to reach fruition.

Four-fifths of cities already facing climate-related physical hazards in 2023, with extreme heat being the most common, according to CDP. Half of the cities disclosing to the platform reported that they dealt with extreme heat during the past year. 35% of the cities said this heat had resulted in drought, while 19% had faced risks relating to wildfires.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that half of the global population is already highly vulnerable to climate risks, and that regions housing billions could become ‘unliveable’ in a 2.8C trajectory.

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