It Takes a City: Collaborative Climate Action Planning

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You'll learn about:

  • Be able to start a conversation with other non-state actors about collaborative climate action planning initiatives

  • Understand the existing context of collaboration between cities and other non-state actors on climate action

  • Understand the need for financing for city climate action

Cities that collaborate with other non-state actors set more aggressive emissions reduction targets, and are better prepared to manage climate-related risks. This suggests that collaboration helps cities aim higher on their climate actions than they would alone, and can make them more resilient in the face of climate change.

The economic opportunity from collaboration for both cities and businesses is substantial: The emergence of the low-carbon economy represents an enormous economic opportunity. In 2016, 75% of the 533 global cities disclosing to CDP identified the potential to develop new businesses and industry sectors linked to climate change. The CDP cities 2016 report, "It Takes a City" including data that cities disclosing to CDP are seeking a combined US$26 billion worth of investment from the private sector for climate-related projects.  Cities in North America are particularly interested in financing.

The format of the session will be a panel discussion facilitated by Katie Walsh (CDP cities) with examples from the City of New York, City of Atlanta and City of Cambridge. City representatives on the panel will discuss how their cities have approached collaboration with other non-state actors and key city needs such as financing for sustainability initiatives.

About the Speakers

John Lee
John Lee is the Deputy Director for Green Buildings and Energy Efficiency at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. In this capacity, he is leading the city’s policy and legislative efforts driving the built environment to ambitious energy efficiency standards necessary to reach the City’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. John’s previous public sector service was with the NYC Department of Buildings as Senior Architect in the codes development division and with the Department of City Planning where he served as an Urban Designer. During his early career, John was a design architect in private sector architecture firms working on institutional buildings, transit facilities, and master plans for universities. He is a licensed architect and a graduate of Rice University and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Jairo Garcia
Dr. Jairo Garcia is the Director of Climate Policies & Renewables at the Atlanta Mayor's Office of Sustainability. Dr. Garcia performs sustainability analysis and reporting, and studies and develops innovative policies and educational programs to track and implement community-wide energy, water, waste, and climate related initiatives. He also evaluates worldwide sustainability best practices, and provides recommendations to meet the Mayor’s goal to make Atlanta a top tier sustainable city. Dr. Garcia has a vast experience in climate, renewables, sustainability metrics, and sustainability education. Dr. Garcia worked as a research assistant for the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York City, and his teaching experience includes two teaching assistant positions at Columbia University, a faculty adjunct and thesis advisor position at Concordia University, and an instructor position for the UCLA-Extension program in Global Sustainability. Dr. Garcia holds an engineering degree, a Master of Science degree in Management of Technology, a second Master of Science degree in Sustainability Management, and a Doctoral degree in Educational Technology and Sustainability.

Bronwyn Cooke
No Bio Available

Katherine Walsh
Katherine Walsh, Senior Manager, Cities, States & Regions, CDP North America. CDP is an international, not-for-profit organization providing the only global system for companies, states and cities to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information. I work with 150+ municipalities in the U.S. and Canada to report on their ghg emissions, mitigation strategies, climate risks and vulnerabilities and adaptation/resiliency planning as well as 15 states/regions in the United States and Canada. Prior to joining CDP, I served as an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellow for the City of Philadelphia Mayor's Office of Sustainability to support the City's climate adaptation planning efforts. I have dual master's degrees from the Tufts Urban Planning School and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. I also hold a BA in History of Asia and the Middle East from the University of California Santa Cruz. I have worked in different capacities for the Sustainable China Energy Program at the Energy Foundation in Beijing, China, in the U.S. Department of Energy's International and Policy Affairs China team and previously ran the Education Program at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco.