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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

The State of City Climate Finance

Publication Year: 2015 Publisher: United Nations


The State of City Climate Finance report makes five recommendations for mobilizing investment in low-emission, climate-resilient urban infrastructure. The report analyzes the obstacles that many cities face in obtaining the financing they need, including uncertainty over regulatory and tax policies, lack of expertise in project development, lack of control over infrastructure planning, high transaction costs and lack of proven funding models at the city and regional level.

“Major investment is urgently needed for climate action in cities,” said Mr. Ban, “and the recommendations in this report, if put into place, can help unlock the capital needed. We know these solutions can work – they just need to be scaled up. I urge governments, banks and the international community to act on these practical recommendations.”

Climate action in cities is crucial to addressing the global climate threat. Urban areas account for over 70% of energy-related CO2 emissions, and the world’s cities produce almost half (37-49%) of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Cities are also on the front lines of climate impacts and urgently need to build resilience. More than 80% of the overall annual global costs of adaption to climate change are estimated to be borne by urban areas, according to the World Bank.

The study was issued by the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance, a coalition of over 40 banks, national governments and civil society organizations launched by Mr. Ban at the Climate Summit he convened in September 2014.

The aim of the Alliance is to accelerate investment in low-emission, climate resilient infrastructure in cities, and to close the investment gap in urban areas over the next fifteen years. Alliance members are working on a plan to help translate the report recommendations into action.