Science Based Targets Network confirms plans for urban nature targets

The Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) has announced plans to develop new city-focused, science-based targets for nature, providing independent guidance on how city leaders can set effective targets for protecting and restoring nature.

The new plan, which was confirmed on the sidelines of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai yesterday as part of a flurry of announcements on buildings, transport and urban development, will aim to extend the SBTN’s approach to validating emissions targets to the goals of cities for improving nature. and expanding natural carbon sinks.

“This initiative comes as a critical addition to ongoing efforts to understand the complicated relationship between cities, climate goals and the rapidly growing realm of nature-related goals,” said Patrick Frick, founder of the Global Commons Alliance, of which SBTN is a part. . “It builds on SBTN’s existing work and will help cities do their part to halt and reverse nature loss.”

The SBTN said the new guidelines would help cities contribute to the goal of “halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030” agreed in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted at last year’s COP15 Biodiversity Summit .

“Cities are the biggest driver of environmental impact globally, with an estimated 57 percent of the world’s population already living in cities and this number is expected to rise to 68 percent by 2050,” the group said. “Both the direct and indirect impacts of cities must be brought into line with what nature can support.”

Cities’ new SBTs for Nature program will deliver initial guidance in spring 2025, based on input from a range of NGOs and companies, including CDP, WWF, WRI, C40, Durham University and Arup.

“With this initiative, cities commit to integrating nature as an immediate priority into their climate transition and urban policy agendas,” said Eva Gladek, founder and CEO of Metabolic, one of the project’s key delivery partners. “This includes setting clear goals for creating and maintaining green and blue spaces. In addition, cities that set science-based targets for climate and nature will seek alignment and synergies with Local Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (LBSAPs) and national biodiversity strategies. and action plans.”

The news came as the COP28 presidency celebrated a wave of announcements aimed at cutting emissions from buildings, transport networks and urban environments.

Notable developments included the launch of a new ‘Cement and Concrete Breakthrough’ and ‘Buildings Breakthrough’, designed to bring together governments and businesses to accelerate the rollout of clean technologies in hard-to-mitigate sectors, as well as the launch of a new tool to track and measure methane emissions from waste, to be deployed in twenty global megacities, and a tool to help policymakers better measure the benefits of so-called ’15-minute cities’.

The new initiatives followed the confirmation of nearly $500 million in climate financing for sustainable urban infrastructure projects through the launch of a new initiative from the Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships for Climate Action (CHAMP).

“Reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement and keeping 1.5°C within reach depends on the leadership and support of the world’s mayors and governors,” said COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber. “That’s why at COP28 we empowered leaders and communities by launching CHAMP. and working with organizations like UN-Habitat and Bloomberg Philanthropies to recognize and support the important role that cities and their leaders can play in tackling climate change.”

Yesterday also saw the launch of a new Playbook for Nature-Positive Infrastructure Development, in partnership with WWF and the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC), and a new Greening Construction with Sustainable Wood initiative, which aims to explore how sustainable wood can are being produced. more widely used in new buildings.

The various initiatives were welcomed by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), which recently published an open letter, backed by more than 175 companies, calling on governments to implement ambitious new policies that can accelerate the decarbonization of the built environment.

“World Green Building Council and our network welcome the Buildings Breakthrough,” said Cristina Gamboa, CEO of WorlGBC. “It represents a critical step towards our shared goal of achieving a sustainable, low-carbon and resilient built environment. We are pleased that several WorldGBC projects are being formally recognized as supporting initiatives in achieving the Breakthrough Goals. “

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