UK funding to support developing cities and regions transition to net zero by 2050

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Today the UK government has launched the new Urban Climate Action programme (UCAP) to support the cities and regions in developing countries most impacted by climate change to accelerate their transition to net zero.

Backed with £27.5 million of new UK government funding as part of the UK’s International Climate Finance commitment, the programme will support cities across Africa, Asia and Latin America to take action to tackle climate change and create a sustainable future, by helping them to become carbon neutral by 2050 and prepare low-carbon infrastructure projects.

The programme is set to help cities like Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur, and Bogotá develop low-emission public transport systems, renewable energy generation, sustainable waste management, new climate-smart buildings codes and climate risk planning.

Business and Energy Minister Lord Callanan commented on the announcement: “From our homes and workplaces to our towns and cities, the buildings we live in are a fundamental part of our daily lives, but also a significant source of global emissions.

“That’s why at COP26 today we are calling on cities, regions, governments and businesses to seize the moment and set bold net-zero targets as we work together as a global community to end our contribution to climate change.”

To date, over 1,000 cities and regions across the world – over a fifth of the global urban population – have committed to slashing their emissions to net zero by 2050.

Today, as part of COP26’s Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day, the UK has called on cities yet to make commitments to step up and set a net zero target that will help protect the places where people live and work, future proofing the world for future generations.

According to the UK Government, the world’s urban buildings, including homes, workplaces, schools and hospitals, are responsible for around 40% of global carbon emissions.

By 2050, 1.6 billion people living in cities will be regularly exposed to extremely high temperatures and over 800 million people living in cities across the world will be vulnerable to sea level rises and coastal flooding.

Many local areas are already taking strong action on climate change, including:

  • the Gateshead District Energy Scheme, a renewable heat network for up to 1,250 new homes, backed by £5.9 million government funding
  • Suffolk County Council has set out plans to build new walking and cycling infrastructure, work with industry in Suffolk to utilise innovative waste heat technology, and deliver a public education campaign on the climate emergency to change behaviour