Edinburgh achieves highest global rating for climate action for second year running

The Capital retains A-list position.

Edinburgh has again been named as one of just 122 cities worldwide to be placed on the 2022 A List by CDP, in recognition of its leadership on environmental action and transparency, despite the pressures of a challenging global economic situation.

Last year the Capital was the first city in Scotland to be named on the list by CDP, an international charity which runs the world’s largest environmental disclosure system for companies and cities.

The retained A-List position recognises that Edinburgh has continued to:

  • Publicly disclose a city-wide emissions inventory
  • Set an emissions reduction target – for Edinburgh, this is a target of net zero emissions by 2030
  • Published a climate action plan - Edinburgh’s 2030 Climate Strategy - which sets the strategic direction for reducing the city’s emissions and becoming resilient to future climate change
  • Completed, and is in the process of updating a climate risk and vulnerability assessment
  • A climate adaptation plan, showing how it plans to tackle the unavoidable impacts of climate change, which will be updated and extended to respond to the risk assessment

Edinburgh has recently published its Climate Strategy Progress Update report which shows it is making good progress against a number of its targets, while continuing to receive recognition as a city at the forefront of climate action. The city was ranked among the top three councils in the UK in 2022 by the Council Climate Plan Scorecard project for the quality of its Climate Strategy.

Since it declared a Climate Emergency in 2019, the Council has also made efforts to improve transparency on climate action and publishes annual progress reports on both the Council and city-wide emissions and progress toward net zero targets. Emissions data is also accessible on the Council website. New climate pages have been refreshed this year and are available at edinburgh.gov.uk/climate (see “Tracking progress to Net zero” page).

Designed to encourage and support cities to ramp up their climate action and ambition, CDP’s Cities A List is based on environmental data disclosed by cities to CDP-ICLEI Track. A clear momentum in city climate disclosure and action is building – for the first time, over 1,000 cities (1,002 in total) received a rating for their climate action from CDP in 2022, a rise on the 965 cities scored in 2021. In 2022, just over one in ten cities scored by CDP (12% of such cities) received an A. 

A List cities are demonstrating their climate leadership through concerted and effective action, just as national governments have been asked to do at COP27. They are taking twice as many mitigation and adaptation measures as non-A List cities. 

Edinburgh, alongside the other 121 cities on this year’s A List, are also celebrated for showing that urgent and impactful climate action - from ambitious emissions reduction targets to building resilience against climate change - is achievable at a global level, and in cities with different climate realities and priorities. However, this action needs to go further and faster.

Council Leader Cammy Day said:

It’s incredibly rewarding to see the recognition we are receiving for our continued progress towards our climate targets, which is a testament to the tireless work of our colleagues and partners across the city to keep these programmes moving forwards.

This is a key priority for the Edinburgh Partnership, and work is well underway on several major projects to support clean, green active and public transport to connect communities across the city, from the Trams to Newhaven project’s delivery next spring to the Low Emission Zone, which will not only drive down air pollution in the city centre but is expected to have a knock-on effect around the Capital.

We can’t do all of this alone, and we can’t avoid the reality that hitting our targets is becoming increasingly tougher, as we are already seeing with the challenging economic situation this year. As a Council, we directly contribute to around 3% of emissions in the local area, and we’ll need everyone - particularly the UK and Scottish Governments and private sector - to step up and continue to support in protecting the environment that sustains us all.

Our goals are ambitious but they’re backed up by the strong progress we have made so far, and I’ll continue to make the case that our Capital City needs fair funding to do this.


Published: November 17th 2022