New C40 and Arup Research Shows How City Governments are Changing the World

A collaborative approach to governance accelerate transformative climate action in cities, report show

On July 1, 2015, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and Arup released Powering Climate Action: Cities as Global Changemakers, a report that demonstrates cities are taking substantial steps on climate action by collaborating and leveraging partnerships not only with each other, but also with the private sector and civil society.

The research quantifies and catalogues the breadth and depth of power that 66 city governments hold over assets and functions across key sectors influencing climate change. In the report, cities are classified into six different urban governance typologies to demonstrate the varying powers they hold and their ability to influence or take climate action.

The ‘Powering Climate Action’ report offers empirical confirmation of what we at C40 have witnessed over the past decade,” said C40 Director of Research, Measurement and Planning Seth Schultz. Mayors face similar challenges and seek to implement similar solutions, and this provides a basis for the collaboration we see working through the global network of C40 every day.”

According to the report, cities have complex governance structures and utilize various pathways to deliver climate action. The report establishes that cities share remarkably similar power profiles across regions and sectors, which makes them well-positioned to benefit from other cities through mutual learning and cooperation. The evidence shows that cities are taking action even where they have limited power, by collaborating with other cities and non-state actors and catalysing wider climate action in the private sector and civil society. Indeed, the research shows that 40 per cent of all transformative climate action in cities is taken through a collaborative approach to governance.

When it comes to delivering action, the way cities use their power is more important than the dimensions of power they have. Limited power need not mean limited action for cities; there is enormous potential for partnerships with other cities, private businesses, investors and civil society to further climate action,” said Paula Kirk, Arup Energy and Climate Change Leader. We hope that the insight in the report helps to improve the measurement, management and strategic planning of climate action in cities, and helping to accelerate meaningful action on climate change.”

Powering Climate Action is the first report delivered under a strengthened C40-Arup partnership announced last week. The two organizations have worked together since 2009 to conduct ground-breaking research on the actions cities are taking to address climate change, and what impact these actions are achieving.

Upcoming research will include analysis of the barriers faced by city leaders in taking climate action, as well as innovative data visualisation tools to enable further engagement with C40’s data.

The full Powering Climate Action: Cities as Global Changemakers report is available to download at:

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, now in its 10th year, connects more than 75 of the world’s greatest cities, representing 500+ million people and one quarter of the global economy. Created and led by cities, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens. The current chair of the C40 is Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes; three-term Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. To learn more about the work of C40 and our cities, please visit, follow us on Twitter @c40cities and like us on Facebook at

Arup is the creative force at the heart of many of the most prominent projects in cities across the world. With 11,000 designers, planners, engineers and consultants working from 90 offices and 38 countries, Arup’s global reach and unique insight is helping cities to understand what really works.

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