TUESDAY, SEPT. 23, 2014 – Portland is among 10 cities worldwide to receive the City Climate Leadership Awards 2014. The Awards honor cities all over the world for excellence in urban sustainability and leadership in the fight against climate change.
Siemens and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group – or C40 – announced the winners Monday evening at a ceremony in New York City. They are:
• Amsterdam: Finance & Economic Development
• Barcelona: Intelligent City Infrastructure
• Buenos Aires: Solid Waste Management
• London: Carbon Measurement & Planning and Air Quality
• Melbourne: Adaptation & Resilience
• New York City: Energy Efficient Built Environment
• Portland: Sustainable Communities
• Seoul: Green Energy
• Shenzhen: Urban Transportation
“Portland stands proudly alongside the global megacities that make up the C40,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “We're delighted to have the honor and recognition that the Portland’s Healthy Connected City approach has proven to be a powerful carbon-reduction strategy.”
Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio de Janeiro and chairman of the C40 group, praised the honorees. “I commend the winning cities for their leadership and commitment, and am confident that their knowledge and experience will help drive other cities to implement on-the-ground solutions faster and more efficiently. Through cooperation and collaboration, cities continue to deliver the results that are having a global impact.”
Hales praised Susan Anderson, director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and Michael Armstrong, senior sustainability manager, along with outside partners ranging from Metro to Multnomah County to the state government. He said the private sector plays a huge role in the honor as well.
“In Portland, the basic idea is to develop the centers of our existing neighborhoods into highly walkable, lively commercial districts, making it easy and convenient to get to the schools, shops, jobs, parks, coffee and beer that make Portland a great place to live, work and play,” Hales said.
Portland’s plan also calls for offering new housing opportunities so even more residents can live in complete neighborhoods. And then connecting these neighborhoods with low-carbon transportation options.
“We are about to complete the first new bridge in downtown Portland in 30 years, and it will carry light rail, streetcar, buses, bicycles and pedestrians … but not private vehicles,” Hales said this spring, while addressing the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Chicago. “This is the kind of investment we are making to make our healthy connected city a reality.”
The winners were celebrated at an Awards Ceremony featuring C40 Board President Michael R. Bloomberg and Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Norwegian Prime Minister. The event brought together more than 250 decision-makers from cities around the world including national leaders, mayors, city planners, policy makers and representatives from the business world.
Josh Alpert, special projects adviser to Mayor Hales, attended to accept the award.
The award-winning cities were selected for the following actions:
Sustainable Communities recipient: Portland for its ‘Healthy Connected
City’ network. The city is developing “complete neighborhoods” to give all residents safe and convenient access to the goods and services needed in daily life. In 2012, 45 percent of the Portland population lived in complete neighborhoods, a figure which the city aims to raise to 80 percent by 2035.
The city’s ambitious and successful initiative shows a unique and valuable pathway to sustainable, resilient, and low carbon communities.
Finance and Economic Development recipient: Amsterdam for its
‘Investment Fund’. With this innovative project the city demonstrates how environmental and climate protection initiatives can be effectively incorporated into a city’s economic development strategy. Amsterdam designed a powerful financing instrument of USD 103 million to be invested in sustainable energy projects, some of them focusing on small businesses.
The fund lowers energy bills for citizens and businesses and contributes to
Amsterdam’s overall CO2 reduction targets: In 2010, the city had already achieved a 20 percent reduction, compared to 1990 levels.
Intelligent City Infrastructure recipient: Barcelona for its ‘Urban Platform’. This project introduces a new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) architecture that provides a single platform, which interconnects the entire city. The platform enables the city to manage resources efficiently and reduce the impact of urban infrastructure on the environment. It will help the city save energy and reduce pollution thanks to sensors monitoring water levels for irrigation, garbage containers, parking, people flow, energy efficiency in city buildings, etc. The program is also geared towards citizen engagement and features a web platform called “GO” (Open Government), which publishes all data publicly.
Solid Waste Management recipient: Buenos Aires for its ‘Solid Urban
Waste Reduction Project’. This project is not only improving the city’s cleanliness, but it is also a well-integrated and easily replicable strategy that includes strong citizen engagement and job growth. The city has committed to reducing waste sent to landfill by 83 percent by 2017, achieving this through an ambitious waste treatment program based on waste separation at origin, recovery, recycling and valorization. The city’s efforts have already resulted in a significant reduction of waste sent to landfills.
Carbon Measurement and Planning recipient: London for its assessment of city-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Between 2012 and 2013, the
Greater London Authority (GLA) took a holistic approach to measuring GHG emissions. It was the first city worldwide to report direct and indirect city wide GHG emissions following internationally recognized GHG accounting and reporting principles. The effort builds on the C40 and partners’ Global
Protocol for Community-scale GHG Emissions (GPC) (in which London was also a pilot city), including a wider range of indirect emissions and a separate consumption-based methodology.
Air Quality recipient: London for its ‘New Taxi for London’ project. Transport accounts for 60 percent of all air pollutant emissions in London. This project seeks to develop new zero emission-capable vehicles with manufacturers; it will use GPS-based geofencing to switch hybrid vehicles to its zero emission drive cycle and will provide a range of innovative financing solutions. The aim of the project is to reduce emissions from the city’s iconic black taxi fleet by up to 100 percent in central London and around 75 percent in the rest of the city. Since the introduction of age limits more than 3,000 of the oldest taxis have been retired and from 2018 all taxis will be newly licensed. This project is a unique approach of aligning the Government Office for low emission vehicles, the European Investment Bank and the UK Green Investment Bank.
Adaptation and Resilience recipient: Melbourne for its ‘Urban Landscapes Climate Adaptation Program’. By increasing green space to 7.6 percent of municipal space and doubling the tree canopy, the program’s goal is to cool the city by 4°C and reduce drought vulnerability using green infrastructure. The city’s actions have already led to the planting of 12,000 new trees and the addition of 10,000 square meters of green space. The program includes running extensive citizen engagement initiatives, which together with the other actions provide a wide range of benefits including improved air quality and city resilience, reduced energy demand, and reduced heat-related illness and morbidity.
Energy Efficient Built Environment recipient: New York for its ‘Greener, Greater Buildings Plan’ and New York City ‘Carbon Challenge’ program.
Launched to back up New York’s environmental goal of reducing citywide GHG emissions by 30 percent by 2030, these programs benefit building owners through energy savings, and improve both air quality and public health. By reducing an estimated 5 percent of GHG emissions, this program can save the city USD 7 billion in energy costs and create roughly 17,800 jobs over the next 10 years. The NYC Carbon Challenge is designed to reduce emissions by more than 600,000 metric tons by the end of the program.
Green Energy recipient: Seoul for its ‘Make Seoul a City of Sunlight’ project. The city is building more photovoltaic facilities, targeting a reduction of greenhouse emissions as well as the city’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels, oil and nuclear and coal power plants. This project is part of the ‘One
Less Nuclear Power Initiative’, designed to reduce the city’s energy demand by two million tons of oil equivalent, which is the same amount as the output of one nuclear plant. Seoul’s aim is to function as a huge solar power plant and create energy independent communities.
Urban Transportation Award recipient: Shenzhen, for its ‘New Energy Vehicle Promotion’ project. As of December 2013, Shenzhen has introduced a new energy vehicle fleet of more than 6,000 units, making it the largest zero-emissions fleet in service worldwide. The project aims to add 35,000 new energy vehicles to the fleet in the next two years and to reach a zero emission ecosystem in the long term. Between 2009 and 2013, this program has cut CO2 emissions by 160,000 tones, leading to the city being ranked in the top 10 for best air quality in China according to China’s Environment Agency.
About the Awards competition:
This year marks the second collaboration between C40 and Siemens on this awards competition, which recognizes innovative city driven climate actions. Cities around the world submitted 87 applications. An independent, seven-member judging panel consisting of former city mayors, architects, representatives of the World Bank, as well as C40 and Siemens evaluated 31 projects in 26 cities as award finalists.
The City Climate Leadership Awards are part of a broader collaboration between Siemens and C40, announced in New York City in April 2013. In addition to the Awards, Siemens supports the C40 Measurement and Planning Initiative –an effort dedicated to enhancing each member city’s ability to measure data, take action and track progress towards self-identified goals. Siemens’ technical expertise is directly available to C40’s robust network of cities.