Cities joining ‘Race to Zero’ will seek to prevent future climate threats, create jobs, and unlock equitable, sustainable growth. These cities must publicly acknowledge and recognise the global climate emergency, keeping climate resilience in line with urban decision making, pledging to reach net zero in the 2040s or sooner. They will also be identifying priority actions over the next decade.
Thackeray made the announcement at India’s Road to COP26 event, part of The Hub Live at Climate Week NYC 2021, and as part of the Global Citizen Live Campaign, a 24-hour music event
on September 25 at the Gateway of India in Mumbai. Speaking at the Climate Week NYC 2021, Thackeray said, “Joining the Race to Zero campaign is our contribution to the global fight against climate change. We cannot keep emitting carbon. We don’t have the luxury of time. Maharashtra will set an example of how subnational governments can act on climate change despite being a massively industrialised state.”
Of these, five cities from western Maharashtra – Mumbai, Nashik, Aurangabad, Kalyan-Dombivali, Pune and Nagpur already joined the campaign earlier this year.
The environment department will undertake a greenhouse gas emission inventory exercise for all the cities and clusters, which account for a floating population of 50 million in the state. Within 12 months of joining, the cities will have to explain what actions will be taken toward achieving both interim and longer-term pledges and commit to reporting publicly both progress against interim and long-term targets, as well as the actions being taken, at least annually.
With a population of 112 million, Maharashtra is India’s second most populated and second most industrialised state. In 2020, 45.23% of the state’s population was in urban areas, compared to 28.22% in 1960. A majority of Maharashtra’s citizens migrated to urban areas, resulting in rapid urbanisation and industrialisation. With the announcement, the state aims to reduce its rapidly increasing carbon footprint, a majority of which comes from its urban centres.
Global Citizen’s Co-Founder & Chief Policy, Impact and Government Affairs Officer, Michael Sheldrick, said, “We know that halting climate change will take immediate action from everyone. That means state and regional governments have a leading role to play in halving global emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050. Global Citizen congratulates the State of Maharashtra and its 43 cities that are announcing their participation in the Race to Zero as part of Global Citizen Live. We encourage additional cities, states, and leaders at all levels to take transformative and urgent action to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement while we still have time.”
The Hub Live brought together several critical influencers from government, corporate and wider society to examine how Indian businesses can take up the huge opportunities now available in renewables, electric vehicles and efficient, decarbonised industry. encouraging global action to defend the planet and defeat poverty. The Global Citizen Live aims to bring support of world leaders, partners, activists, artists around the world to defend the planet
and defeat poverty.
Divya Sharma, India Executive Director at Climate Group, while speaking at the event said: “Far more needs to be done, and that too fast, in light of the starkest warning on climate change. Businesses, investors, governments and people will have to come together to check global temperature rise, keep it within 1.5 degrees, and move to a low carbon economy.
The cities joining the Race to Zero from Maharashtra are: