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May 27, 2021

Procurement for carbon neutrality

Procurement plays a key role in Pittsburgh’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050
Mayor William Peduto, City of Pittsburgh, USA, issued a new Executive Order that builds upon Pittsburgh’s leadership in fighting climate change by committing the city to become fully carbon-neutral by 2050. Leveraging the city’s procurement is one of the cornerstones for reaching carbon neutrality.
The Order reviews concrete steps the Peduto Administration has taken the past seven years on climate change efforts and lays out the next moves City of Pittsburgh departments and authorities must make to further protect the environment.
The centre piece of the Order is Pittsburgh joining the ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability Network, in which communities agree to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and GHG avoidance to a net-zero emission level at the latest by 2050.
“Climate change is a global issue but has severe local impacts on Pittsburgh residents, especially upon those in low-income communities who bear the brunt of negative impacts from rising temperatures, tainted air and water, and severe weather,” Mayor Peduto said. “The good news is we are taking serious steps to confront these issues and emerge from this crisis with a stronger economy and a better future for generations of Pittsburgh residents to come.”
One of these steps is leveraging the city’s purchasing power to reduce GHG emissions. The GLCN member has made first achievements towards building a fossil fuel-free fleet, purchasing 100% renewable electricity for major facilities in the City government or adopting a Net Zero Ready Building Ordinance to commit to constructing highly energy-efficient municipal buildings.
Going forward, the Order further requires for example that:
• All City Departments to implement climate impact scoring when crafting budgets and conduct a climate risk assessment for infrastructure investments and municipal operations
• The Department of Public Works to issue a Request for Proposals to develop a comprehensive strategy to improve energy efficiency in all City facilities
• The Department of Mobility to issue a Request for Proposals to transition the City’s streetlights to LED and take into account Equity Indicators throughout the conversion project
• The Departments of Public Works and Mobility and Infrastructure and the Office of Management and Budget or their designees to take necessary steps in collaboration with the Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh to leverage public assets to provide additional electric vehicle charging stations and infrastructure that can be utilized by residents and visitors
• Taking necessary actions to, whenever possible, replace retiring municipal vehicles with electric or other alternative fuel equivalents and procure renewable sources of fuel, in collaboration with the Equipment Leasing Authority and the Interdepartmental Electric Vehicle Task Force
• Establishing an Energy Planning Delivery Unit to create and publicize guidelines for developers and builders to advance equity-focused greenhouse gas reduction and climate preparedness strategies in their projects.
Mayor Peduto has been one of Pittsburgh’s leading environmental voices across three decades in local government. He is the North American representative to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, and in February joined international leaders including Special Presidential Envoy on Climate John Kerry, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and UN Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions Mike Bloomberg to celebrate the United States rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, among other accomplishments.

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May 27, 2021

[SCP] Re-thinking nature-based solutions: seeking transformative change through culture and rights: A briefing for the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

The term ‘nature-based solutions’ is both widely used and controversial. It remains ill-defined, despite some high-profile efforts to clarify it, and some of its most enthusiastic supporters include industries and governments responsible for much of the historical and ongoing damage to the planet and communities worldwide.

This briefing looks at key areas in which nature-based solutions need more clarity and rigour if they are to play an effective and transformational role in driving financial and technical support where it is needed most to tackle the global environmental crisis, to uphold human rights and to enable a transition to sustainable economies and societies. The briefing also makes a series of recommendations for the development of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

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May 17, 2021

The key resource for a climate revolution: citizens

Communities or individuals producing, using and selling their own renewable energy could provide up to 89 percent of the electricity demanded in the residential sector by 2050. Research has found that, in the coming years, governments have a unique chance to support ‘prosumerism’ and, in doing so, shepherd in an effective and socially just energy transition.

Learn more at the ICLEI News Center

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May 8, 2021

EU publishes rulebook to classify ‘green’ investments

[Reuters, 21 April 2021] By: Kate Abnett
The European Commission on Wednesday published its long-awaited system to classify "green" investments in sectors from industry to transport, but delayed vexed decisions on whether to label nuclear energy and power plants fuelled by natural gas as green.
By making green investments more visible to investors, Brussels hopes to help steer huge sums of private capital into activities that support EU climate goals. The rules also aim to stamp out "greenwashing", where organisations overstate their environmental credentials.
"Too much money is going into the wrong areas, areas which are damaging the climate. We can harness that money," EU financial services chief Mairead McGuinness told Reuters.
"We talk a lot about sustainability and how to achieve targets. In a very granular way we now have, by sector, how that is to be done," she said.
The EU's new rules, known as the "sustainable finance taxonomy", are a list of economic activities and the rules they must meet to be deemed green. Starting next year, they will decide which activities can be labelled as a sustainable investment in the EU. “
The Commission published climate-related criteria for green investments ranging from building renovations to the manufacture of cement, steel and batteries, reflecting draft plans previously reported by Reuters.
The Commission said it will address natural gas in a second set of criteria due later this year. Nuclear power is also being reviewed separately.
The rules on those issues have faced months of fierce lobbying from governments and industry. The EU's expert advisers and typically wealthier western and Nordic EU states say it is not credible to label gas, a fossil fuel, as green. Central and eastern states say it should be promoted to help them quit higher polluting coal.
Some EU advisers and green groups said the sections on forestry, bioenergy and shipping were unacceptably lax. Representatives from five NGOs and consumer groups advising the Commission said they would stop doing so in protest.
"Environmentalists will not come back to the process until the Commission comes back to science," said Luca Bonaccorsi, director of sustainable finance at NGO Transport & Environment.
The rules will apply unless blocked by a majority of EU countries or by the European Parliament - considered unlikely.
To earn a sustainable label, an activity must make substantial contribution to one of six environmental aims and not impede the other five. The rules published on Wednesday cover two of those six aims - fighting climate change and adapting to its impacts.

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