The theme for the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference in Cairo, ‘Together for Implementation’, signals the role of cities and regions as important actors in the fight against global warming. Recognizing the role of cities, KPMG has published its first Net zero readiness spotlight: cities (NZSC). The report evaluates the status and progress of 50 cities in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across five sectors by assessing mitigation, adaptation, equitable climate action and city readiness to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. It further evaluates the cities’ readiness to leverage transition drivers such technology, climate finance, innovative partnerships, and the circular economy, whilst striving to ensure equity, and effective climate governance. The report also emphasizes the growing link between net zero and city prosperity through an intersectional understanding and approach to climate action.

The NZSC considers 48 indicators for each of the 50 cities. These have been split between a city’s enabling environment for decarbonization, a city’s past decarbonization performance, sector specific policies and preparedness, action, and commitment to climate equity, covering energy, mobility and connectivity, the built environment, industry and waste and sanitation. The report indicators used in this model are based on data published until September 2022.

Through this analysis the report showcases each city’s unique journey as they transition to net zero, spotlighting challenges, opportunities, and useful commentary for the city and their peers. The 50 participating cities have been grouped into two categories: Pacesetter cities whose climate action in the five sectors are above average and Progressor cities whose climate action is below average as per the indicator results.

The NZSC draws on the experience of the global organization of KPMG firms to analyze each cities transition to net zero, discussing the opportunities, challenges, and successes in specific sectors. It also includes global observations and insights from KPMG specialists on how each of the sectors can accelerate towards net zero driven by bold city action.

Key takeaways