Press Release: Report describes current global landscape of city, state, and business climate actions in time for the UN Climate Conference
Contact: Amy Weinfurter (firstname.lastname@example.org), +1.847.224.2984
Cities, states, and regions (“sub-national” actors), along with businesses, investors and civil society organizations (“non-state” actors) are pledging to act on climate in ever-growing numbers. A new analysis by the Yale Data-Driven Environmental Solutions Group (Data-Driven Yale) captures the current state of this global climate action, drawing on a database of approximately 14,500 actors, making nearly 100,000 commitments.
The analysis, which synthesizes information from 17 of the platforms and organizations  that help galvanize and track this surge of climate action, finds encouraging trends in participation. Over 7,000 cities and nearly 250 regions, covering 16.9 and 17.5 percent of the global population, respectively, have committed to climate action. This figure includes more than two-thirds of the Global 300 Cities by GDP Purchasing Power Parity, which represent $36.8 trillion USD. Approximately 6,225 companies and investors from 120 countries, representing US $36.5 trillion USD in revenue, were also captured in the analysis. This number includes nearly half of the world’s largest companies, as measured by the Forbes 2000 and Global 500 lists.
“Climate actions pledged by city mayors and corporate CEOs played a crucial role in building momentum for national government leaders to deliver the Paris Agreement,” said Angel Hsu, an Assistant Professor at Yale-NUS College who directs Data-Driven Yale. “Now it is critical to track these commitments to ensure they are implemented and to understand how they add to the goals countries pledged in Paris. Next year countries are being asked to reevaluate their Paris pledges to increase their ambition, making non-state and subnational actions even more critical.”
In addition to cities and companies, approximately 500 investors have made mitigation, adaptation, or financing commitments, including 34 of the 57 world’s largest banks, representing $3.1 trillion USD in market capitalization. Seven hundred colleges and universities in the United States, with a total student population nearing 1 million and a collective endowment of over $250 billion USD, have also committed to act.
“Our ability to track the full extent of global climate action has evolved rapidly. Since 2015, the number of climate action commitments our analysis includes has grown 10-fold, from 10,000 to 100,000,” said Amy Weinfurter, a Data-Driven Yale Research Associate. “This analysis is just the start – there are still many data gaps we’ll be working in the next year to fill to ensure we can provide a solid information base to support important climate policy moments next year.”
In addition to exploring trends in participation, Data-Driven Yale’s analysis also identifies common themes across actors’ commitments. Already, 589 colleges and universities are generating 519,762,051 kilowatt hours of renewable electricity, enough to power 41,768 homes in the U.S. for a year. Investors’ contribution to wind, solar, bioenergy, and hydropower renewable energy projects range from $10 million to $5 billion USD. Subnational actors have pledged to install approximately 2 terawatts of renewable energy, an amount roughly equivalent to the world’s total renewable energy capacity in 2016. Corporate climate action commitments cite the creation of a combined 877,603 jobs. Data-Driven Yale will be working to dive deeper into commitments’ trends, co-benefits, and drivers in the months ahead.
The report’s release corresponds with the beginning of the United Nations’ COP-23 Climate Conference. Climate negotiators will spend the next two weeks in Bonn, Germany, working through the implementation of the landmark Paris Agreement, which sets a goal of holding global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius, and aiming for a 1.5 degrees Celsius limit.
 Data was drawn from the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA), C40 Cities for Climate Leadership, CDP, Carbonn Climate Registry, Climate Alliance, Climate Initiatives Platform, Climate Mayors, Compact of Mayors, Compact of States and Regions, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, European Union Covenant of Mayors, Pivot Goals, RE100, Second Nature, Under2MOU Coalition, We Mean Business, and We Are Still In/America’s Pledge.