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Put your city in the strongest position to thrive in the zero-carbon, nature positive economy.

Cities are the largest driver of environmental impact globally, with an estimated 57% of the global population already living in cities (The World Bank) and this number is projected to rise to 68% by 2050 (the United Nations). 

Nature loss and climate change crises are fundamentally interlinked. We can solve the climate crisis – but only if we recognize the urgency of tackling the nature crisis alongside it.

At the Science Based Targets Network, we are in the process of developing initial guidance for nature science-based targets for cities, and in 2020 we developed initial guidance to help cities set climate science-based targets which is in the process of being updated in 2024.

Setting nature targets

Plans to develop the Cities’ Science Based Targets for Nature program were announced during COP28 in 2023. We expect initial guidance for cities to be available in 2025.

Recognizing the vital role of local and subnational governments, along with other stakeholders, in adopting and implementing nature-positive policies, the Cities Science Based Targets for Nature program seeks to accelerate progress towards net-zero emissions, enhanced biodiversity, and climate resilience.

It is a collaborative effort with some of the world’s leading cities networks, research institutions, and advisory organizations focused on cities: CDP, WWF, WRI, C40, ICLEI, Durham University, The Nature Conservancy and Arup. At the heart of the consortium, Metabolic and Urban Biodiversity Hub will act as core delivery partners.

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Climate Guidance for Cities

Our cities guide for climate science-based targets was developed in 2020 by our core ‘cities’ partners CDPC40Global Covenant of MayorsICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), the World Resources Institute (WRI), and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Backed by technical research and testing, the guide assesses and explains three science-based climate target methodologies and their technical criteria. It advises cities on which methodology to use and how to use the methodologies to determine interim and net zero targets.

Updated technical guidance is underway and we will provide an update in 2024.

Start by using our interactive flowchart to see how to ensure your city’s climate targets are science-based or how to gather the right data

The Race to Zero campaign aims to drive action from businesses, cities, regions and investors toward a cleaner, safer, healthier and more resilient world.

700+ cities have now joined the Race to Zero – a global campaign run by the UN Climate Change High-level Champions and the Marrakech Partnership – and are committed to setting a science-based target for climate. This is a target in line with delivering a fair share of a 50% global reduction by 2030 and reaching net zero carbon by 2050, consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. 

To get started on setting or checking your city’s emissions reduction target, follow our guide. For targets to be compatible with the Race to Zero, they must cover all greenhouse gases and territorial emissions. Cities can use the Tyndall methodology to calculate robust carbon budgets for energy, but these will need to be supplemented with targets for other emissions in order for cities’ target to be eligible for Race to Zero. 

The Cities Race to Zero track of the Race to Zero campaign is a collaboration of SBTN’s core cities partners and United Cities and Local Governments: C40 Cities, CDP, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), (UCLG), CDP, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Join the Race to Zero campaign