The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and C40 Cities, with support from PwC, call for enhanced city collaboration with startup entrepreneurs and corporate innovators to accelerate climate action and help secure a 1.5°C future
MADRID, December 09, 2019—Cities that accelerate climate action by supporting cleantech startups and corporate innovation could supercharge urgent global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis. That’s the conclusion of a new report released today at the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain, by C40 Cities and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), with research support from PwC. The report’s recommendations and call to action offer cities a pathway to use innovation hubs or “melting pots” that better empower entrepreneurs to help secure a 1.5°C future.
In their new report, Cleantech Cities: Accelerating Climate Action Through Startups and Corporate Innovation, C40, LACI and PwC estimate the potential of new technologies and disruptive innovation in cities by 2030 could surpass 1.3 GtCO2e in greenhouse gas reductions from buildings, transport and waste each year. That’s roughly a 35 percent enhancement to a 2°C emissions reduction pathway, with more immediate impact. Urban climate innovation is also estimated to create just over $5 trillion in new global investment opportunities by 2030, plus inclusive opportunities for job growth, public health improvements, and other co-benefits.
Cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Singapore, and Vancouver, are already bright spots in the global effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, city governments are leading with bold policies and by removing barriers to climate innovation for startups and corporations. However, some cities struggle to get ahead of innovation and are often poorly equipped to foster new entrepreneurial solutions that would accelerate climate action.
Innovative businesses and cleantech startups possess huge potential to act on climate change by leveraging private-sector skills and investment that cities need. The rapid rise and commercialization of e-scooters as a last-mile mobility solution is just one example of ultra-high growth start-up innovation that can help reduce emissions. For every company like Bird or Lime, there is a pipeline of many more entrepreneurs and emerging technologies that are stuck navigating an uncertain ecosystem of support.
To unlock the full potential of urban innovation and significantly accelerate climate action, C40, LACI and PwC are calling for closer coordination between all members of urban innovation ecosystems, including city governments, startups & corporate innovators, intermediaries (such as tech incubators and accelerators), academia, investors, citizens and communities. The report’s authors interviewed a range of city officials, innovators and ecosystem actors to inform three key recommendations that would drive innovation in advanced mobility solutions, intelligent energy systems, and more conscious consumption:
- Cities should invite, shape, and direct startup and corporate innovation to accelerate climate action.
- Startups need guidance to help them find incubators or partners that work closely with cities and can help facilitate connections across the urban innovation ecosystem.
- A new platform and global partnership should be forged to help cities better work with startup and corporate innovation to accelerate climate action
The report also highlights 28 tools and instruments—ranging across tech clusters, startup support services, finance, market access, and pilot projects—that enable innovation and scaling of urban climate innovation.
“Cities are where the future happens first. Throughout history they have been centres of innovation and accelerators of progress to tackle the greatest challenges facing humanity,” said Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities. “Today, there is no greater challenge we face than the growing climate crisis. Cities are major contributors to the emissions that are causing climate breakdown, but they are also where the solutions are being developed, tested and scaled up. By creating supportive policies and partnerships for those innovators and start-ups within their cities, C40 mayors can help drive even faster action towards securing the future we want.”
“As the City of L.A.’s first Chief Sustainability Officer and now working with startup entrepreneurs at LACI, I know firsthand how innovation can help cut carbon, improve people’s lives, and address inequity in every part of a city,” said Matt Petersen, CEO, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), and board chair of Climate Mayors. “Given the scope of the climate crisis, we’re calling on city leaders around the world to both set bold policy goals and empower cleantech startup entrepreneurs and corporate innovators. Taken together, these measures can help mayors realize an additional 35 percent reduction in GHGs and $5 trillion in economic potential.”
“We were struck by the speed at which high-growth businesses can accelerate climate action at city-level,” said Dan Dowling, Director, Cities & Urbanisation, PwC. “City governments are an essential catalyst in this and can play a leading role by unlocking barriers in the climate innovation and investment ecosystem so that action can be rapidly scaled in partnership with the private sector.”
C40 Cities connects 94 of the world’s greatest cities to take bold climate action, leading the way towards a healthier and more sustainable future. Representing 700+ million citizens and one quarter of the global economy, mayors of C40 cities are committed to delivering on the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement at the local level, as well as to cleaning the air we breathe. The current chair of C40’s steering committee is Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles; and three-term Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. C40’s work is made possible by our three strategic funders: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and Realdania.
The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), a private nonprofit organization, is creating an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation (through working with startups to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies), transforming markets (through partnerships in transportation, energy and sustainable cities) and enhancing communities (through workforce development, pilots and other programs). Founded as an economic development initiative by the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Water & Power (LADWP), LACI is recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI. In the past seven years, LACI has helped 108 startups raise $221M in funding, $220M in revenue, create 1,750 jobs, and deliver more than $393M in long term economic value. Learn more at laci.org
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