#60 C40 Cities: The 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy for Cities Programme with Google

Episode 66 January 17, 2024 00:37:58
#60 C40 Cities: The 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy for Cities Programme with Google
Smart in the City – The BABLE Podcast
#60 C40 Cities: The 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy for Cities Programme with Google

Jan 17 2024 | 00:37:58


Hosted By

Tamlyn Shimizu

Show Notes

In this episode recorded at the 2023 edition of the Smart City Expo World Congress, we had a dynamic conversation with Cassie SutherlandManaging Director for Climate Solutions and Networks for the C40 Cities Network.

We discussed the 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy programme in partnership with Google and explored challenges, innovative tools, and real-world examples, discovering how cities can lead the way in building a sustainable and carbon-free future.


What to learn more? Visit the C40 Knowledge Hub here.


Overview of the episode:

[00:01:18] Teaser: C40 Cities in three words

[00:02:02] Cassie's Professional Background

[00:03:44] What is the C40 Cities network and what is its mission in the context of addressing climate change?

[00:07:00] What is the 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy for Cities program? What is its main goal?

[00:09:19] What are the barriers the initial four pilot cities are facing in implementing this initiative?

[00:14:56] Why partner with Google? How did this partnership form?

[00:19:10] How does the 24/7 carbon-free energy concept differ from other approaches to decarbonizing energy consumption? 

[00:22:37] What are some innovative tools and technologies that Google and other partners are using to support cities in their sustainability efforts? How can these tools help cities make data-driven decisions?

[00:26:04] How can this programme also keep in mind that a just transition is needed?

[00:28:27] How can people get involved in the project

[00:31:57] Hot Take of the Day: hear an opinion from our guest that might be slightly controversial or debated.

[00:35:26] Ending Question: To you, what is a Smart City?


Like our show? Remember to subscribe and rate it!

Want to join us for an episode? Contact our host Tamlyn Shimizu.


And for more insights, visit the BABLE Smart Cities Knowledge Hub!

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:06] Tamlyn Shimizu: Welcome to Smart in the city, the BABLE podcast, where we bring together top actors in the Smart City arena, sparking dialogues and interactions around the stakeholders and themes most prevalent for today's citizens and tomorrow's generations. I am your host, Tamlyn Shimizu, and I hope you will enjoy this episode and gain knowledge and connections to accelerate the change for a better urban life. Smart in the City is brought to you by BABLE Smart Cities we enable processes from research and strategy development to co creation and implementation. To learn more about us, please visit the BABLE platform at bable-smartcities.eu. Today we're live at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona. We're collaborating partners at the expo, and we're recording with some of the partners and participants and speakers. Today we will be diving into an initiative that's very intriguing. I'm really excited to learn more about it, and I'm also excited to be speaking to a really special guest here today. So without further ado, I would like to introduce you to Cassie Sutherland. She's the managing director for climate solutions and networks for the C40 Cities network. Welcome, Cassie. [00:01:17] Cassie Sutherland: Thanks, Tamlyn, and great to meet you. [00:01:18] Tamlyn Shimizu: Great to meet you as well. So, before we get started with talking about this special project you have going on with Google, I want to ask you a little teaser question to get warmed up. And the teaser question is, how would you describe the C40 Cities network in just three words? [00:01:37] Cassie Sutherland: The great teaser question put me under pressure, right? So I would describe the C40 Cities network as ambitious, city led, which is hyphenated, so that's only accepted and friendly. I think it's an interesting word, but important for building relationships. Friendly or accessible, I guess, in that sense, yeah. [00:02:02] Tamlyn Shimizu: Like open and friendly. Okay, very good. So I want now to know a little bit more about you. The listeners always like to know who are they hearing on the other end of their headphones. So what is your background? Where did you come from? How did you end up in this position? [00:02:20] Cassie Sutherland: Great. Well, yeah, thanks again for having me. And so I've been at C40 now for around four years, and I'm based in London. C40 network is based all around the world, but I'm one of our London based colleagues, and I joined C40 from a career in the public sector. So working at national governments in the UK or city government. I used to work for the City of London as well, working on environment and climate policy, looking at smart energy systems, building decarbonization, climate adaptation. So my whole career is built from that kind of public sector point of view of how do you get policy happening at a national or city level? And then I've taken that experience and brought it to C40 and tried to say, how do you share those lessons around the world? I did environmental science at university many years ago now and basically have one of those moments where I was given the lecture on anthropogenic climate change, the cause of this, the increase we're expecting in emissions, what the future would look like. And I turned to myself, I said, well, okay, I've got to work on trying to stop that. I've got to work on halting climate breakdown and what I can do to really help tackle this huge challenge that's facing us. That was really the start of my career in climate. And then I truly believe that policy making and programs at those kind of national and city level are the way that we're going to be able to get ourselves out of the crisis. [00:03:44] Tamlyn Shimizu: Very noble mission and really interesting background that led you to here seems to have built all upon each other. So now I would love to know a little bit more about C40, the network of cities, its mission in the context of addressing this climate change. [00:04:00] Cassie Sutherland: Yeah, sure. So for listeners that don't know, C40 is a network of nearly 100 cities from all around the world. And really, the mayors of these cities are coming together to be the ambitious leaders to tackle climate change and the problems we're facing. So of those cities, the 97 cities we have in the network, over 50% are from the global south and 50% from the global north. So we really represent all around the world, and it's predominantly the megacities of the world, which we class as 3 million residents or above. So collectively, the C40 member cities represent over 700 million residents and 25% of the world's gdp. So the premise being, if you can have ambitious action within these cities and really leading climate action in these cities, you're going to have a significant global impact because it's across those 700 million residents and such a large proportion of the global gdp. But also there's going to be a ripple effect. The voices of those mayors of those cities have a leadership and convening power to them. And so they're going to inspire action from others, whether it's at city level communities or, of course, national governments and private sector. [00:05:11] Tamlyn Shimizu: And is it mostly mayors that you're working with or which level are you working on? [00:05:16] Cassie Sutherland: We actually work across mayors and city officials. So it's the mayors of cities that join the C40 network. It requires that kind of mayoral commitment, a set of other commitments I can briefly touch on, but we recognize that kind of mayors sharing ideas and solutions between them is very powerful. But you also need to do that at a city official level as well, at a policy official, at a technical level, so that you then can find out how have we been able to transition towards electric buses. What policy is needed from that, as well as what political commitment or whether it's to create a sustainable waste system or to decarbonize energy supply. So we're really working at all levels. And at C40 we believe that's the effective way of doing it. If you, you know, policy needs politics and politics needs policy, so you really end up with this loop that really works. And the whole idea of the network and we're a not for profit is really that there's more that unites cities than divides them, so they can share ideas very freely between each other. You don't have often this tension between cities or political leaders in cities, so you end up with very easy sharing of ideas and that kind of inspiring each other to take action and sometimes a bit of healthy competition between cities as well. If we've got a city doing that and a mayor sees it, maybe I. [00:06:31] Tamlyn Shimizu: Should be doing that too. [00:06:33] Cassie Sutherland: Exactly. I'd love to do that as well. So I think that's really where we kind of targeted. And then when cities are taking on those actions at C40, we come in and say, okay, how can we support you bringing ideas from elsewhere or by developing that policy and really putting you on a path towards an ambitious future. And all C40 Cities have committed to a 1.5 degree compliant action plan. That's really our kind of leading level of ambition, that cities are putting that in place. [00:07:00] Tamlyn Shimizu: Very good. So first political buy in and then working on policy and implementation. Yes, as well. Perfect. Now, we really want to talk about this one project that you're involved in together with Google. It's called the 24/7 Carbon Free Energy for Cities program. Can you give us a brief overview of it, the main goal and who is involved? [00:07:22] Cassie Sutherland: Yes, definitely. So we're really excited about this program and we launched it together with Google last year when we held our world mayor's summit in Buenos Aires in 2022. And the idea of the 24/7 carbon free energy program is really to look at how do we truly decarbonize our energy systems. And so that means really running on renewable energy 24 hours, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. And I think there's sometimes been a lack of understanding of really how difficult that is to achieve or how needed that is on the energy system. And it really came about from kind of large energy users within the corporate world. So it was when Google were first decarbonizing their data centers, and they had purchased renewable energy tariffs and they had that kind of supply coming in, but it wasn't meeting their 24/7 matched energy demand. So they were still finding that they were relying on a coal plant or a fossil fuel plant to be able to meet some of the demands of the system. And so these large users said, okay, we need to move to more time matched energy demand and supply. And so, of course then to take that beyond the corporate world and say, how do you start to bring that into other energy systems? You need to include cities. You need to look at what's the cities are systems still, they have a huge amount of energy is consumed in cities. Something like 75% of the world's energy is consumed in cities. So they're massive demand centers. And so what is the real role that cities can play in also moving towards a 24/7 carbon free energy system? So we've started off with a pilot program. We're now working across four cities, three european cities, London, Paris and Copenhagen, and a city in South Africa, Etiquini, who are really looking at across that energy system, where can cities play a role in truly decarbonizing? [00:09:19] Tamlyn Shimizu: Sounds very ambitious. Sounds very interesting. I want to know, with these three pilot cities, what do you think? Or four actually, you mentioned now, right? What do you think are the main barriers that they're seeing in implementing this? [00:09:37] Cassie Sutherland: Yes, I think there's a barrier that kind of connects all of the cities, which is a lot of cities don't have direct control or ownership of their energy system. They have an influencing role, and they have parts of that system that they do control, such as the municipal energy demand or municipal energy supply. And so I think that's the first challenge, is where can cities play a role in some of this? And I think I can bring some examples from some of the great work that the cities are doing, but also about how cities can take a hold of this. So can they look at a neighborhood scale? Do they need to look citywide? How can we kind of look spatially? And the interesting thing working at a city level is cities understand where the consumption is happening within their city. They understand the kind of peaks, they understand where the high density is. And so they can really target some of their actions. But in terms of the barriers, I think we've identified kind of four main barriers that cities are facing. The first one being data. Data has been a big issue. I don't think anybody who has looked at energy systems or decarbonization in cities will be surprised by that. That a lack of data and having hourly profiles of citywide energy consumption and being able to match that then to the available supply of renewables has been a big issue. And this really comes down to, in most accounting for energy, you say, okay, this is my usage, here's my kilowatt hours. So I'm now going to buy this amount of kilowatt hours of renewable energy. But what we know is at the peaky times of day, when the most consumption is being used, the demand is at its highest that the renewable system is unable to keep up with that demand. And so often fossil fuel plants come online and they're meeting that extra bit of demand. So having the data to be able to either shift that peak through demand flexibility, looking at further energy efficiency within the different assets in the city, or bringing online new storage or different types of more flexible renewable energy sources, the data allows you to be able to do those things and bring them in. And a lack of data is really something that we're struggling with. The second one is, I've touched on it already, but a big barrier is governance, governance and influence and power. So where cities don't have that kind of control over the energy system, how can they actually kind of play a role in doing that? And I think we're working to support cities further on that. The third, I think, is a comprehensive issue, but it's kind of technology and infrastructure shortfalls. If we're going to truly increase the electrification of all of our services and move away from fossil gas as providing much of our heating, then we know the grids are going to have to be reinforced. We know there's more work to do and really kind of making sure the infrastructure is there to meet it. And then my fourth barrier to finish off is finance. So we know that overall, and in the long term, renewable energy is cheaper. We know that it can have great impact in terms of job creation. We know that it is a great financial case. However, there's an upfront cost to a transition, and we also know that fossil fuels are being subsidized at a heavy level. And so this really makes that kind of upfront challenge of cost and that injection of finance that's needed at the start of a project, a barrier that cities are facing. [00:13:00] Tamlyn Shimizu: Really great comprehensive overview of the challenges these cities are facing. A question about your second one that you said around governance that cities not having control, how can you help them have more control? What is one of the kind of next steps for cities facing this challenge? [00:13:20] Cassie Sutherland: Yeah, great question. There's a few different ways that we support cities to do that. One is leading by example, actually. So where cities can take their municipal energy consumption, their supply, and really show how to transition, that often people look for where there's a solution and then they like to copy it. This is great, right? This is perfectly reasonable and done all around the world and is a really good idea. But cities can truly lead by example. So in one of our pilot cities in Paris, they're looking at decarbonising some of the transport system, the municipally controlled transport system. And so if you could say, well, ok, we can point to this is possible, then actually you can see that national governments often come in and say, ok, we can now scale that, we can replicate, we want to build on that. So one is leading by example, the other is through having a kind of seat at the table, really saying when new policies are being brought in, national government legislation, or whether it's, if it's a privately owned system, then how cities can actually influence that. And often that's bringing real world evidence and data from cities of this is what we're facing. And I think then the third one is really kind of bringing those two things together of where do you use the data and where do cities kind of use their leadership power, their convening power to bring others together to do something? So how do they bring community owned projects, energy projects online? How do you start to really bring the voices of small and medium sized enterprises? How do you look at the huge demand users, big companies that might be in a city and really the cities inspiring those users to take action? [00:14:56] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, absolutely. I really appreciate your very well explained way of putting that all out there for us. So with your partner of this project, it's Google. So why partner with Google? How did this partnership form? [00:15:13] Cassie Sutherland: Yeah, great. We're really delighted to be partnering with Google on this project. Firstly, they were real leaders in establishing 24/7 carbon free energy principles and really saying for their own operations, they wanted to be better, they wanted to be truly 24/7 carbon free energy. And when talking to them right at the start of this project, them really recognizing that it really didn't help. If just Google were 24/7 carbon free energy, if only their operations were no, they need to operate on a system, they need to recognize they can't just kind of have their own supply and demand contained within itself. It actually needs to work within an overall system that's 24/7 carbon free energy. So we had a chat about that. And cities are a key role in that. They have also launched a 24/7 carbon free energy compact, which is with Se for all who lead that. And so that really helps to kind of bring other partners together, other businesses, some national governments. Some of the cities have kind of signed on to that desire to move towards 24/7 carbon free energy. But first, what we realized with Google was we needed to bring together that ambition with what can be done in cities and how we can do it. And at C40, we hope that if we know anything, we understand cities and we know how to talk to cities and really get the best out of them. And so that therefore this formed a really good partnership to kind of understand what's at the root of this. And our first port of call was actually, I can send you a link to this that you can add to the podcast was we produced a white paper that said, what is the role of cities in a 24/7 carbon free energy future? And I think we really needed to have that baseline out there. [00:16:50] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, I guess this leads to another question, and it's one that cities are often tackling with, partnering with big corporations, like Google, for instance. There are cities, I'm based in Stuttgart who partner with the big car automobile companies, which of course is controversial in some areas. What is your advice to cities? I guess looking to partner a lot with big corporations and other partners like that. [00:17:20] Cassie Sutherland: Yeah, I think it's a really important point. And partnerships in terms of tackling the climate crisis are essential. We've got to recognize that nobody can do this alone. And a sense of joint ambition and actions is vital. And cities can't therefore ignore, nor should they, the large corporates within their cities. And of course, therefore the economic benefits that are also brought to the city by those kind of corporates. And I think what's important is getting to a point of common objective and common sense of ambition. We've done a lot of work in kind of city business engagement around the world and really bringing together coalitions of businesses within cities and then city officials, and to be able to say, okay, we've actually got a sense of alignment if we look at a high level, but then we struggle once we get into the how, what is it we're asking of each other? Or how can a city be truly transparent about the future that they want as well? And so that therefore a market can respond very clearly. So what are the kind of stages by which we're going to increase? A great example of net zero carbon building codes that are brought in and over sort of five years, they normally increase and ratchet up their ambition year on year. And so it's setting a very clear trajectory for the market that they can respond to rather than saying no regulations one day. And then here's everything. And you've got to totally transform your business. So I think that kind of alliance is really important. And when it comes to energy, of course, we've got to look at the big users of energy, we've got to look across private sector, across commercial, but also across residential, and we've got to say where can we make the biggest improvement right now and how can we kind of significantly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels in this energy system and across our assets? [00:19:10] Tamlyn Shimizu: Very well put. So the concept of 24/7 carbon free energy, you've explained it, you've given a great overview of that. Is there anything you want to dig into in more detail, I guess, about what that all entails, more of the implementation aspects and how it differs from other approaches to decarbonising energy consumption? [00:19:33] Cassie Sutherland: Well, maybe. Let's give you some examples of what's happening in the cities. It's always quite nice to hear kind of where the cities are going and how they're approaching this. So in terms of the three cities, quite different approaches, this is the three cities in Europe that are more progressed. London, Paris and Copenhagen been working now for around a year on 24/7 carbon free energy. Etiquini in South Africa, they've really only just begun on their journey towards establishing 24/7 carbon free energy principles and are taking a lot of lessons from these other three cities, but are quite in the kind of early baselining stage. But they are speaking later on here at Smart City Expo on an event that we have and they're 24/7 carbon free energy. So we're super excited to hear from the city officials who've traveled all the way from South Africa here to Barcelona to learn about their ambitions for the program, but back to what's happening. So in London, they actually took a city wide approach and really focused on what's the opportunity for demand side flexibility. How can we shift some demand in also, firstly to look at how do we smooth out that profile of demand? So it's not that huge peak in the morning and huge peak in the early evening, which is really leading to where the fossil fuel plants are coming online and they found a huge potential through modeling to be able to kind of look across hourly and different carbon intensity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So I think that was super interesting. That was a citywide one, and then you would look at that whole system, whereas in Paris I briefly mentioned they're looking at really increasing demand. Well, they're looking at increased demand. They're seeing increased air demand through electrification of transport. So through electrification of their municipal fleets, buses, taxis, other municipal vehicles. So of course that leads to then further peaks on the grid as well and therefore could increase the reliance on fossil fuel systems. So they're looking at now matching at a real time level. So we've got quite a good understanding of what their municipal demand is going to be across vehicles, when they're going to be charged, when they're going to be brought onto the grid. And that means they can then say, ok, how can we now purchase renewable energy supply that's going to meet that demand at the right times of day, month, year and so on? And then Copenhagen have also looked at a municipal level, but they've looked more at the buildings and so they've said for the schools, for the offices that they own and operate, how can they really get towards a 24/7 carbon free energy supply? And Copenhagen have been a real leader in kind of power purchase agreements for renewable energy in the past. They're really focused on high energy efficiency targets for their municipal buildings. So they're actually dealing with the kind of really hard residual amount of carbon that they've got on their system for their municipal buildings. So I think very interesting, kind of end of the scale of the ambition scale to say this stuff's often really difficult and left to kind of residual emissions or how do we offset these emissions? But Copenhagen is saying, no, we'll try and tackle those. So hopefully that brought it to life a little bit as well about actually how the project works. [00:22:37] Tamlyn Shimizu: Absolutely. Really great examples there. And I guess, of course we're at the Smart City Expo, so I want to know also what are some innovative tools and technologies that Google and other partners are using to support the cities in these efforts? So how can these tools help cities make data driven decisions? [00:22:56] Cassie Sutherland: Yeah, really, really useful. And the other area of work that we're actually partnering with Google on, I don't know if you know about their environmental insights Explorer database and the kind of tools they have there. We've had a partnership with Google Eie, as it's known, environmental insight explorer for quite a while now, and we've done some interesting stuff around getting that data and making it available for cities. And we've seen great leadership from Google on this. So a couple of areas we've really focused on, I'm moving away from the energy one slightly, although I'll come back, is some transport and mobility data. So Google has fantastic understanding of the actual movement of vehicles around cities. [00:23:34] Tamlyn Shimizu: The best in the world, right? [00:23:35] Cassie Sutherland: Best in the world. I mean, and the level of detail is amazing in terms of the types of vehicles, how often they're used, modality, and so hugely insightful for cities when they're looking at a sustainable mobility plan. How to increase walking and cycling, where would you do that? What are the kind of real areas where you could unlock some of the congestion, but also poor air pollution? And also where are you going to see the biggest benefit of bringing electric vehicles or electric buses and so on? So that's one area. The other, which is interesting as well, is on tree canopy cover and green spaces. So rising temperatures, a huge issue. Our cities are facing a big risk, a big climate risk that cities are facing, leading to massive impacts of the urban heat island effect, but also loss of life, particularly in elderly and vulnerable people. And of course, huge amount of discomfort, which means cities become unlivable. And I think hopefully you're picking up from anything we're doing at C40 as well. We're really trying to ensure cities are livable places, right? Cities are nothing without the people that live in them. And so, of course, then focusing on areas of shade, or working on how we can use nature based solutions to be able to really enhance the infrastructure of a city and ensure it's resilient into the future. So those are two of the tools in terms of energy. We've also, within the white paper that we produced with Google, we used a lot of the kind of data they have on what are some of the technology solutions for renewable energy, for energy efficiency, for storage, that really could transition to at a city level as well as at a national level or at a kind of large consumer level. So I think it really sets out a playbook for cities. The only thing I would say, I think on 24/7 carbon free energy, it's really fantastic. We're looking at these pilot cities to start with, because it is a very different context. While there's some barriers that are common across the cities, there's some solutions. The way the energy system works, of course, the people who are the users of that energy system, whether it's in a commercial or residential place, and of course, then other parts of the economy that base themselves on the energy system that's in a city, become very specific. And we have a just transition at the heart of any of this work, really ensuring there is no energy transition. That is not a just energy transition. And so this has really got to be then very specific. [00:26:04] Tamlyn Shimizu: And that leads perfectly into my next question. And it's how can this program also keep in mind that a just transition is needed? Do you want to elaborate a little bit more on that point? [00:26:14] Cassie Sutherland: Yeah, sure. And it's something we're working really hard at C40. The future is a city that is thriving, that is resilient, that is net zero, and the way communities are embedded within the decision making of the cities and really being able to shape that and the most vulnerable are protected. And we've done some research on at C40 around the job creation opportunity of a just energy transition. And we know there's a huge opportunity there. We know that there's six times more jobs going to be created from investments in solar and energy efficiency than a continued investment in fossil fuels. But of course, you go one level below that number and you say, well, for who? We need to ensure that it is a just transition of jobs, that people who are working in the fossil fuel industry have the ability to access new training programs, new tools and resources to be able to then access those new jobs. And I think what's interesting at a city level, and we're seeing cities really taking leadership on green and good job creation, is they know where the residents are, they know where the high levels of unemployment are, they know the people. You can actually kind of get your arms around a city and understand where is it that I can target this support? And I think that's the real power of mayors and that ability to be able to act quickly in an agile way, to be able to say, these are the people that actually I need to benefit from these jobs. Great example in Bogota, where they have the largest electric bus fleet outside of China. So we've supported some latin american cities on transitioning to electric buses, but they're also at the same time transitioning their bus fleet. They're training up a whole load of female drivers for the transport system and normally a very male dominated industry across the world transport system. And so this is really interesting that also a moment of climate action is being used as a chance to increase the diversity, increase the accessibility of new job creation opportunities within a city. So I think these are really good examples as well that we want to get into the hands of other people to say, do things like this. This is the way that you ensure a just transition is actually actively doing it, not just talking about it. [00:28:27] Tamlyn Shimizu: Absolutely. So what is your call to action? I guess to listeners, people are listening, they're very interested in the project. They think, wow, this is cool. I want to get involved. What would you say to them? [00:28:40] Cassie Sutherland: Yeah, I think, firstly, have a look on the C40 knowledge hub and look up 24/7 carbon free energy and engage with some of the work we've done. See if you agree with it. Ask us questions about it. Are these the only options for cities to transition to 24/7 carbon free energy? But also maybe think about that role that you, your organization can play in this system. What have you already done on transitioning to a renewable energy future? Have you started to look at only purchasing renewable energy supply? Is that time matched? Is it hourly matched? If not, how could you start to move to that type of system? Is it that you've got a data barrier? Is it that actually there's a risk that needs addressing? Really, how can we start to move to that one, knowing that that is the only way that we're going to truly decarbonize our systems. [00:29:27] Tamlyn Shimizu: Great. So get involved. And the last question that I ask most guests, I guess, is that I like to give you the space to speak also about anything that we didn't get the chance to talk about today related to the project or unrelated to the project. This is your floor. If you'd like to take it. You don't have to, but do you have anything else that you're quite passionate about that you want to say to our listeners? [00:29:55] Cassie Sutherland: I guess maybe I'd like to talk a little bit more about that kind of involvement of communities within this project and really putting people at the center of this transition. I think often when we talk about 24/7 carbon free energy, we can end up a bit in the technical. A bit in the technical. Wow, this is complex. And we end up with very complicated kind of greenhouse gas accounting principles. And I was just talking to some of my colleagues about GPC protocols earlier on, and is this the only issue? But of course it's not. We also need to make sure that we're really, I think, disseminating this opportunity and the need to move towards a 24/7 carbon free energy to the people who are going to be engaged in the transition. So really that community involvement, and I think not forgetting that there's a lot of stuff that can be done at a neighborhood or district level using great insights and important also tailoring of those to community levels. So I think that's the interesting. And also then looking at how benefits can be brought to that community as a result of it. We've of course, got. Fossil fuels are the cause of the climate crisis here, the global climate crisis. But I think we've got to look at the impacts cities are facing of climate crisis now and how also any movement towards renewable energy can help that. How can it improve the livability, the surrounding area of a city? How can it improve the health of its residents through improving air quality and reducing particulate matter from dirty fossil fuels? And then also, how can it create good, sustainable, long term, well paid jobs as well? So I think we've got to look end to end and not just get ourselves caught in the technical. I was at an interesting session yesterday here at the expo around building decarbonization, where actually the kind of same point was made of. We've got a lot of points here on data and policy and targets we need to meet, but we've also got to remember that really, we should act quickly, urgently and in response to the needs and demands of people in our cities and not just wait for the data to be perfect. [00:31:57] Tamlyn Shimizu: Very good. Yeah, it's really important to always put the people at the forefront of the conversation. That was also the focus of our side event the day before the expo as well. So now we get to move on to our fun segment. And the segment I chose for you today is called hot take of the day. Hot take of the day. We want to hear an opinion of yours that may be slightly controversial or debated. Do you have a hot take for us? [00:32:35] Cassie Sutherland: Well, I mean, I think this is probably. I'm talking to the converted already here, but I guess my hot take really is that cities are better positioned to fight the climate crisis than national governments. So not just that they have a role, but are better positioned. They don't necessarily have all the tools to do it right now, but they are in the right position to do it. And sort of, why do I think this? Firstly, the data tells me so. I know that 75% of the cities in the C40 network are already reducing their greenhouse gas emissions faster than their respective nation states. This is interesting. We often hear, can cities really do it? Yeah, they're talking about it. I'm sure you've had many of these debates on your podcast before, but actually, here's the proof. Here's the proof it's actually happening. They're cutting those emissions. So I think we've now got to say, well, okay, how do we really kind of double down on that. And what is it that cities are actually doing better, quicker, faster? And how can others enable that to go further, knowing that they're responsible for so many emissions? So maybe it's not too controversial and debated, although I hope that actually the nuance is debated. And really we say, okay, this is not just some nice case studies that cities are doing. We need to take those and really translate them into large scale action. And at C40, I mean, we're seeing this move a little bit in cities, getting a seat at the table a bit better. At COP 28, we've now seen the announcement of the local climate action summit. I don't know if you've heard about this, announced by Mike Bloomberg and also the Cop 28 president. And this is where we're going to be hundreds or thousands of subnational leaders at cop in the blue zone. So where the negotiations happen, having a voice on what needs to happen in terms of tackling climate change. Cities have been kept on the outside of these processes for a number of years. I think now it's really because the proof is in that kind of results in the actions they're taking, the actual emissions reduction that cities need to play a much stronger role. So, yeah, I think this is proof. [00:34:36] Tamlyn Shimizu: Isn'T in the pudding. [00:34:37] Cassie Sutherland: Yeah. [00:34:38] Tamlyn Shimizu: But I guess one question to that. You say cities are better positioned than national governments. Can they do it without support from their national governments? [00:34:48] Cassie Sutherland: No, I think it has to be a recognition from national governments and other stakeholders that cities, if you put some more resources, powers, mandate towards cities, you can get some big gains from it. Cities can't do this alone. And I think the benefits that we've seen from cities as well is where they haven't just worked alone, they've worked in partnership with other stakeholders around the cities, other levels of government, whether it's in large private sector, smaller medium sized enterprises, communities, others, ngos, whether if we're globally, internationally, then that's really where the benefits have come. [00:35:26] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, very good. Now we're to the final question. Sadly, I've really been enjoying speaking with you, but it's a question we ask every single guest that comes on the podcast, and it's to you, what is a Smart City? [00:35:40] Cassie Sutherland: Yeah, well, so a Smart City is, for me, a city that is resilient. And I guess I mean that as being climate resilient, but also other levels of resilient. It's one that's livable and puts people at the center of it. So that means it has accessible green spaces, it has services within a short proximity, you can actually access things around your home. And it's designed, and I think that also brings in the smart bit because you need that to be well designed and that it's of course zero carbon, it's net zero. This reduces emissions, but also that it's really designed to grow and flex with the people of the city. So how is it adaptable? Adaptable. Exactly. How is it adaptable? We've seen many issues of cities in the past being constrained by growth or being totally overwhelmed by growth or changes in demographics in that kind of ebb and flow of people from cities. And I think that's going to become even more important in the future as we also see huge impact of climate migration to cities, as well as people being moved from rural areas due to climate impact into cities. So how are cities really set up to adapt to that? [00:36:56] Tamlyn Shimizu: Very good answer. It's always a really fun question to ask people because everyone has very different views. So with that, I don't have anything else for you. That's all. Thanks so much for coming on and sharing about your really unique project and all the work that you're doing at C40. I'm very interested to also follow it very closely in the future. So thank you very much. [00:37:17] Cassie Sutherland: Thanks for having me. [00:37:18] Tamlyn Shimizu: Absolutely, anytime. Thank you. And to all of our listeners, thank you as well. Don't forget you can always create a free account on BABLE Smartcities EU. You can find out more about Smart City projects, solutions and implementations. Thank you very much. Thank you all for listening. I'll see you at the next stop on the journey to a better urban life.

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