City-led Green Recovery Boosted by $267BN G7 Stimulus Funds, But More Needed


New BloombergNEF and C40 Cities report evaluates G7 stimulus packages, showing EU as best in class in supporting urban action to deliver a green and just recovery


New York City, September 30, 2021 – The world’s cities are poised to lead a clean and just economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, but only if national governments spend stimulus funds wisely. That is the key finding of Building on Cities to Deliver a Green and Just Recovery, a joint report out today from BloombergNEF (BNEF) and C40 Cities, which highlights city-level achievements in cutting emissions that are ready to be copy and pasted into hundreds of other jurisdictions globally with proper support. Among G7 countries alone, the report identifies $267 billion in stimulus funds that could immediately be used to drive a green recovery, with the EU setting the gold standard at $145 billion.

The report highlights successes achieved in eight key pathways to decarbonization, including transportation, buildings and energy consumption. In each, cities are providing examples of how to recover from recession while advancing climate action, creating jobs and improving public health. Best practices for cities, based on these case studies, include targeting job creation to key local green sectors, and connecting and aligning national- and city-level incentives to decarbonize.

“Cities have a unique opportunity to help lead our global economic recovery while also fighting another crisis that is already here: climate change,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions, Founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and C40 Board President. “But they can’t do it alone. It’s critical that national governments work in hand-in-hand with them to invest in and implement the climate solutions that will help build strong economies and create good jobs now, while also confronting the climate crisis head-on and making them more resilient in the future.”

As national stimulus shifts from liquidity support to targeted industry and labor market recovery policies, governments should support cities directly. Cities can quickly and effectively leverage funds to achieve climate, health and jobs goals, and are well-positioned to access stimulus funds in three main ways: direct allocation to local budgets, applying for funds earmarked for certain projects (e.g. mass transit improvements or job training), and by encouraging local residents and businesses to apply for direct grants.

European countries are already leading the way on the delivery of stimulus aligned to a green and just recovery in cities. Italy, France and Germany make up 54% of G7 stimulus aligned to the report’s pathways for a green and just recovery, but only 16% of G7 emissions. Other G7 countries have room to scale up ambition further, while European countries must now prioritize the successful and efficient deployment of funds alongside targeted engagement with cities.

“C40 mayors have been out front in providing the science-based political leadership to tackle the climate crisis and achieve a green and just recovery from the pandemic” said Mark Watts, C40 Executive Director. “This report demonstrates that if national stimulus funding everywhere backed green city programs like the European Union is doing, that pioneering city leadership could kick-start a wider global transformation. By investing and regulating to drive progress on low-carbon public transit, retrofitting buildings, expanding clean electricity and zero-emission vehicle infrastructure, cities can serve as key pathways out of both the pandemic and the climate emergency.”

The report lays out key recommendations for cities to accelerate a green and just recovery, as well as how national governments must support their city counterparts. This includes:

Engaging cities in the design and delivery of programs and ensure access to funding over a sufficient duration. As economic engines, cities must be central to recovery efforts.

Rapidly phasing out fossil fuels. Cities are working hard to decarbonize buildings and transportation but must rely on regional and national energy supplies to ensure electric buildings and vehicles run on clean energy.

Ensuring a just transition. Communities hit hardest by climate and Covid-19 impacts must be central to equitable recovery efforts.

“This report demonstrates the importance of collaboration between municipal and national governments. Cities can serve as the test lab for new initiatives that make real impact,” said Emma Champion, Associate at BloombergNEF and lead author of the report. “National governments have the power then to help scale those ideas, particularly if they make the necessary funds available.”

“Investing in a green and just pandemic recovery and directing stimulus funds towards decarbonization of the world’s cities is a critical tool for addressing our overlapping economic, climate, and public health crises,” said Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. “Cities are a powerful force for global change, and together with national governments we have an important opportunity to drive large-scale financial and social benefits for millions of people. This report, with an example from Rotterdam on low-carbon energy supply, is yet another example of cities’ global influence and the economic opportunity of a global transition to clean, renewable energy.”

“Communities of color have experienced the worst effects of climate disasters, health impacts of fossil fuels and danger from a warming planet. In Seattle we are investing in our carbon neutral electric power and a transportation electrification plan to transform our City into a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable community,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have the opportunity to build our communities back cleaner, greener and more just. This report offers a clear roadmap for global leaders to take full advantage of recovery and end our reliance on fossil fuels.”

The full report Building on Cities to Deliver a Green and Just Recovery is available via the following link.

Veronika Henze

Media Team
C40 Cities

About the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
C40 is a network of nearly 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities who are working to deliver the urgent action needed right now to confront the climate crisis and create a future where everyone, everywhere can thrive. Mayors of C40 cities are committed to using a science-based and people-focused approach to help the world limit global heating to 1.5°C and build healthy, equitable and resilient communities. Through a Global Green New Deal, mayors are working alongside a broad coalition of representatives from labor, business, the youth climate movement and civil society to go further and faster than ever before. The current Chair of C40 is Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti; 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.

About BloombergNEF

BloombergNEF (BNEF) is a strategic research provider covering global commodity markets and the disruptive technologies driving the transition to a low-carbon economy. Our expert coverage assesses pathways for the power, transport, industry, buildings and agriculture sectors to adapt to the energy transition. We help commodity trading, corporate strategy, finance and policy professionals navigate change and generate opportunities.
Sign up for our free monthly newsletter →

Want to learn how we help our clients put it all together? Contact us