Welcome to the capitaltribunenews.com daily round-up of the key city-related stories from COP26. We are updating the news throughout the day. Send stories to our editorial team.
UN-backed Council on Urban Initiatives gets underway
The mayors of Mexico City, Bogotá, New Orleans, Freetown, Gaziantep and Barcelona are part of the new Council on Urban Initiatives, which held its inaugural meeting in London yesterday to coincide with COP26.
The international group of 18 mayors, activists and academics will collaborate around initiatives related to just, green and healthy cities.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “Cities must be leaders of climate action to keep the 1.5°C goal within reach. More and more cities across the world are committing to net zero by 2050 or before. The sooner we translate these commitments into concrete action to reduce emissions, the sooner we will achieve green job growth, better health, and greater equality.”
The Council is an independent body established in collaboration between UN-Habitat, UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) and LSE Cities at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
National Digital Twin programme launches app and film
At COP26, the National Digital Twin programme (NDTp) and partners on the Climate Resilience Demonstrator (CReDo) project have released a short film and an interactive app to show the role of digital twins in climate resilience.
The app, developed by the NDTp together with Esri UK and in partnership with Mott MacDonald, introduces the fictional Sunford City. The city experiences a series of severe storms, driven by climate change, that cause a cascade of emergencies and impact utility networks. Users can test different scenarios by using isolated digital twins versus connected digital twins, to see how this enables them to make decisions to better protect the city.
The Tomorrow Today film, directed by BAFTA-winning Colin O’Toole, tells the story of a man and his grandson facing an unprecedented storm.
Sarah Hayes, the project’s lead, said: “We want the film and app to connect with everyone, from asset owners to the public, and remind them that lives are at stake. We need to build more resilience into our systems, and that takes collaboration.”
The NDTp is run by the Centre for Digital Built Britain, a partnership between the University of Cambridge and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
COP26 ‘war room’ tackles climate misinformation
Image: Jefferson Santos on Unsplash
A real-time ‘war room’ monitoring unit aims to tackle misinformation that could distort public understanding of the COP26 summit or reduce the likelihood of key agreements being reached.
The War Room is a collective effort from partners including the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) Avaaz, Climate Nexus, Code for Africa, Conscious Advertising Network, Digital Climate Coalition, Global Witness, Greenpeace, Purpose, Friends of the Earth U.S. and Stop Funding Heat.
The unit pulls data from bespoke climate dashboards built by ISD and CASM Technology over the past year to assess the prevalence, nature and penetration of anti-climate messages at scale.
Monitoring analyses content across public Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit and Telegram. Daily analysis is being made available to key stakeholders at the summit, a news release said. Where relevant, harmful content may be flagged directly to tech platforms.
Sasha Havlicek, CEO and Co-Founder, ISD, said: “ISD has seen climate emerge as a new vector for actors pushing a culture war agenda. Our research continues to show how they connect disinformation, extremist and conspiracy ecosystems with a broader public, laundering unfounded or unscientific ideas into the mainstream.
“This is a pattern we have documented for other key policy challenges such as migration, electoral integrity and Covid-19, and one which could threaten climate action if left unchecked.”
Divesting investments from fossil fuels
At COP26 yesterday, banks, insurers and investors overseeing US$130 trillion pledged that by 2050 all of the assets under their management will be aligned with net zero emissions.
A 190-strong coalition including 40 countries also agreed to phase out coal power and end support for new coal power plants.
Climate network C40 Cities noted that 18 member cities have so far have signed up to its Divesting from Fossil Fuels, Investing in a Sustainable Future pledge.
In a statement last week, Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities, said: “World leaders, city and local governments, businesses and organisations everywhere need to follow suit and put their money where their mouth is. We must divest from fossil fuels and invest in the future we want for humanity and the planet.”
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