Steps Towards Climate Neutrality: Insights from the UTMC Peer-to-Peer Exchange Session on GHG Emissions Offsetting 

On April 30, the ICLEI European Secretariat organized the second session of the Peer-to-Peer Exchange series as part of the Urban Transition Mission Center (UTMC) project. This event, dedicated to the topic of carbon offsetting, engaged urban leaders and stakeholders from the city cohort of Mission Innovation – Urban Transitions Mission cities, and from the European Union Cities Mission, to discuss the feasibility and practicalities of implementing carbon offsetting strategies in cities. 

Participants in the session had the opportunity to delve into the practical implementation guide on Carbon Offsetting for Cities, currently being developed by the UTMC team. The discussion centred on various types of offsets available to cities, the challenges they face, and potential pathways for reducing residual greenhouse gas emissions. 

During the session, participants explored real-life case studies from three different cities and learned how they approach carbon offsetting in their urban contexts. 

The city of Turku, a proactive ICLEI member selected under both the Mission Innovation – Urban Transitions Mission and the European Union Cities Mission, presented its ambitious plans to cut city-wide emissions. Turku is investing in natural solutions, such as enhancing net carbon sinks through afforestation and other land use strategies, to achieve its climate goals. 

Similarly, Bogotá is working towards a significant emissions reduction target of 30% by 2027, relative to a business-as-usual scenario, with the aim of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. Bogotá’s strategy includes evaluating various methods to offset residual emissions, with a preference for nature-based solutions within its national boundaries. 

Melbourne, another active ICLEI member, has been carbon neutral certified since 2011. During the session, the experience and insights of city of Melbourne were presented by the UTMC team. Melbourne has years of experience of offsetting emissions at the organizational level, providing valuable lessons and strategies for other cities aiming to follow in its footsteps. 

Throughout the discussion, several challenges were highlighted. Cities face a lack of clear guidance on implementing carbon offsetting, difficulties in engaging the private sector, dependence on national climate action policies, and challenges in uniformly measuring carbon sinks.  The implementation guide which is being by the UTM Center team will help cities address the above-mentioned challenges, and in navigating the complexities of achieving climate neutrality. Once finalized, the guide will be made available on the UTM Center portal. 

The insights and outcomes from this session are vital steps towards empowering cities to develop and implement effective carbon offsetting strategies.  

For further details and to view the session recording, please visit the following links:

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