Global cities showcase pioneering initiatives at COP26 to advance climate action

Kate Addlington Kate Adlington Global Press Office,London
26 October 2021

C40, the global network of leading cities committed to addressing climate change, and Arup have brought together 11 global cities, from London to Bogotá to Auckland, to offer delegates at COP26 some of the world’s best examples of impactful climate action at a city level. Located in COP26’s Green Zone, the Global Cities Climate Action Exhibition will highlight cities’ critical roles in reaching the ambitious targets being discussed by key international bodies and leaders at COP26. The full exhibition will also be available virtually via an interactive digital platform.

Cities represent over half the global population, consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions. The exhibition organisers are calling for greater investment capital and confidence in city-led climate action to inspire future initiatives.

The exhibition will show how city-led climate solutions from 11 urban areas, which jointly represent over 109 million inhabitants, are measuring tangible positive climate impacts through reduced emissions, improved resource efficiency, and strengthened climate adaptation and mitigation, while enhancing citizens’ quality of life and social equity. The equitable, impactful initiatives showcased in the exhibition include LA’s Green New Deal, led by Chair of C40 Cities Mayor Eric Garcetti. Global mayors and city leaders are set to attend the exhibition, including Mayor of London and Chair-elect of C40 Cities Sadiq Khan.

The on-the-ground initiatives range from low carbon housing support and sustainable mobility solutions to rainwater harvesting projects and transforming waste into clean, affordable energy. They will highlight the opportunity for cities to lead the way on taking practical action to reach international climate targets.

The 11 cities selected to participate in the exhibition are Auckland, Beijing, Bogotá, Istanbul, Jakarta, Lima, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Nairobi, and Washington, D.C. Some of the climate action programmes, projects and initiatives featured include: 

Showcasing what is possible at this year’s COP is vitally important to demonstrate that we can deliver science-based climate action. This inspiring exhibition will feature transformative climate solutions being pioneered in C40 cities, as well as the tangible resulting benefits upon residents' lives and the urban environment. Governments worldwide need to come together in Glasgow at COP26 and prioritise the climate crisis with the same sense of urgency as mayors. ” Mark Watts Executive Director, C40 Cities


  • Te Auaunga / Oakley Creek: The replacement of a concrete channel along a 1.3km stretch of stream with a wider, nature-based channel with native greenery planted in close proximity to the stream, enhancing protection from flooding for over 200 previously vulnerable homes.

  • The construction of New Zealand's first state-of-the-art green hydrogen production and refuelling facility that serves port equipment, buses and cars.


  • Implementation of the National Strategy of Carbon Peaking and Carbon Neutrality, and the creation of a local carbon market in Beijing.

  • A smart app which facilitates door-to-door recycling services for citizens, preventing 235 tons of carbon dioxide emitted annually.


  • The Doña Juana Landfill Gas to Energy project, which captures methane gas emitted by the waste stored in landfill and turns it into electricity delivered to residents via the national grid.

  • A green corridor comprising >20 km of public space that integrates socially and environmentally diverse neighbourhoods and highlights the history and memory of the city with identity and landscape enhancements.


  • The Climate Kampong program which supports community-led approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation in rural communities, active across 148 locations in Jakarta to date.

  • Jak Lingko: An award-winning sustainable public transport system which integrates the different transport modes in Jakarta into one common payment and personal system, allowing citizens to travel more comfortably, safely and quickly through the city.


  • Turkey’s first climate action plan: Actions that will pave the way for many investments related to climate change in Istanbul and create new job opportunities for the city's residents.

  • The country’s first sustainable urban mobility plan for a pan-city transportation system that promotes inclusive, innovative, sustainable, and integrated mobility and accessibility solutions for all citizens in Istanbul.


  • Peru Reconstruction, an inter-governmental project to enhance the infrastructure of buildings making them more climate resilient.

  • The creation of bio gardens with a circular economy approach that promote security of the food supply through the recovery of organic waste, composting and fertilising.


  • The Retrofit Accelerator programmes aimed at channelling sources of funding and providing expertise for the comprehensive retrofit of homes and workplaces to make them more sustainable, cut carbon emissions and reduce energy bills.

  • Ultra-Low Emissions Zone: The world’s most famous road charging scheme to reduce emissions from transport and improve air quality across the city.

Los Angeles

  • Bradley Plaza Green Alley: The successful sustainable transformation of an underutilized alley into a thriving community space while improving public health and safety and building environmental resilience.

  • LA’s Green New Deal: A Paris Agreement-compatible Climate Action Plan setting ambitious, aggressive goals for the city’s future and sets the city on a course to be carbon neutral by 2050.


  • Four ground-breaking rainwater harvesting projects across the city that highlight the potential for rainwater to mitigate climate risks of drought and flooding.

  • The restoration and protection of Mumbai's mangroves, which provide important climate resilience benefits to the city and store a significant amount of carbon.


  • The award-winning DARAJA project, which aims to improve the climate resilience of vulnerable populations living in informal settlements in Nairobi by building bridges between communities and weather and climate information providers to provide better weather information.

  • Affordable low carbon housing solutions spearheaded by BuildX Studio - a Design, Build and Develop B-Corporation which creates affordable, low embodied carbon solutions to help cater for Nairobi's expected population growth and housing demand.


  • The Solar for All programme, providing affordable low carbon housing support to ensure that the journey to net zero is equitable and inclusive.

  • Revitalizing the Anacostia River through green and grey infrastructure projects, working hand in hand with the community to broaden and deepen engagement with the river.

City-level action is often overlooked in favour of international targets, but there are huge opportunities for impactful action at city-level to accelerate emissions reductions. This exhibition draws on best practice thinking and successful climate actions from cities across the world, aiming to inspire other city leaders and citizens to accelerate action towards net zero targets. International agreements and commitments are encouraging but cities can be the engine of swift, tangible climate action, often acting as a test bed for innovation ” Richard de Cani Richard de Cani Director

The exhibition itself comprises a series of ‘virtual rooms’ for each city in which visitors can discover case studies and initiatives that have demonstrated proven positive climate impacts. The virtual aspect of the exhibition will be hosted using Virtual Engage, a web-based digital platform that allows the public to access the exhibition from any location at any time.

The exhibition will be featured in the COP26 Green Zone from 1-12 November. It will provide a space for mayors and city leaders from the participating cities who are attending COP26 to convene and present their city’s climate action plans to conference attendees.

The Global Cities Climate Action Exhibition will open virtually on 1 November at 00:00 GMT. To visit the exhibition, click here