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How cities around the world are working toward a greener future

Cities are the front lines of the climate crisis. Home to more than half the world’s 7.8 billion people, they generate 70% of global carbon emissions. They’re also hot spots for the development of transformative climate solutions. Since 2011, WWF’s One Planet City Challenge has helped more than 400 cities demonstrate leadership and accountability by reporting climate targets and action plans. Participating cities receive expert guidance, tools, and support from WWF and partners. Take a tour of some standouts to see what they’ve done.

ILLUSTRATIONS ©John S. Dykes/WWF-US
Vancouver
Vancouver, Canada

Since 2006, Vancouver has reduced its ecological footprint by 20% by planting trees, improving public transit options, implementing progressive green building policies, and more. It aims for 100% carbon-free energy by 2050.

Cleveland
Cleveland, USA

Cleveland is improving streets for pedestrians and cyclists, making buildings more energy-efficient, and using more solar and wind to cut emissions 80% from 2010 levels by 2050.

Guatemala City
Guatemala City, Guatemala

Guatemala City’s Jungla Urbana (“Urban Jungle”) ecological park showcases native plants and birds, and a public campaign intends to reimagine the city’s neglected natural ravines (barrancos), which teem with native plants.

Belo Horizonte
Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Aiming for 80% renewable energy by 2030, Belo Horizonte has cut carbon emissions by 20% compared with 2007 levels and is investing in urban reforestation, waste management, and public transportation.

Lund
Lund, Sweden

Lund is investing in buses and bikes, including communal bike repair spaces. The city’s 120,000 residents collectively biked more than 115,000 miles per day in 2017. Now, 74% of residents travel the city by bike, foot, or public transportation.

Pune
Pune, India

Pune has boosted bikes in its public bike-share system from 8,000 to 20,000. More than 60% of Pune residents now use public transportation, and the city intends to make 80% of residents’ trips sustainable by 2029.

Jakarta
Jakarta, Indonesia

Powering schools, government buildings, and streetlights with solar, Jakarta aims to reduce emissions 30% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels.

Seoul
Seoul, South Korea

A role model for fast-growing Southeast Asia, Seoul plans to achieve 20% electricity self-reliance by the end of 2020. It’s reducing emissions by increasing residents’ use of solar power, opting for greener transport fuels, and building more bus lanes.

Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo now has more electric vehicle charging stations than gas stations and has a target to boost sales of zero-emission vehicles to 50% of all new passenger car sales by 2030.

 
Cape Town
Cape Town, South Africa

Plagued by drought, Cape Town has taken drastic measures to avoid running out of water: launching an aggressive communication campaign, fixing leaking pipes, limiting water use, and investing in desalination plants.

 

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World Wildlife magazine provides an inspiring, in-depth look at the connections between animals, people and our planet. Published quarterly by WWF, the magazine helps make you a part of our efforts to solve some of the most pressing issues facing the natural world.

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