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Alfa Laval at COP28: When building sustainable cities, we need to get it right from the beginning

How can cities overcome the challenge of fitting more and more people in a small area, while at the same time reducing emissions and going to net zero before 2050? During Cities Day at the COP28 Climate Hub, Alfa Laval invited experts, business leaders, policy makers and city representatives to give their input on this topic and highlight the current solutions. We can reduce emissions in cities rapidly, but we need the will and resources to scale the solutions across the world.
Madeleine Gilborne, Vice President Energy Division, Alfa Laval joined We Don’t Have Time hosts Catarina Rolfsdotter-Jansson and Nick Nuttall to moderate the session.
Madeleine Gilborne, Vice President Energy Division, Alfa Laval joined We Don’t Have Time hosts Catarina Rolfsdotter-Jansson and Nick Nuttall to moderate the session.

Cities are the lifeblood of our civilisation, but they are also the cause of massive resource use and carbon emissions, occupying 4% of the land but accounting for up to 80% of the world’s energy consumption and 70% of carbon emissions. Meanwhile, urban populations continue to increase, putting us in a catch 22 where cities need to provide for more people while reducing emissions. To solve this equation, we need to implement new energy systems that are more efficient and powered by renewable energy.
In the lead-up to COP28, several coalitions of cities at the forefront of climate action have been created to accelerate action, spread knowledge, and inspire other cities to take more ambitious steps. Opening up Alfa Laval’s session, “Accelerate Sustainable Cities Across Value Chains to Reach Net Zero” on Cities Day of the COP28 Climate Hub, was Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities, to share the progress of their coalition of almost 100 mayors of big cities committed to climate action in line with the 1.5°C target.
“There is tremendous progress and collaboration between these 100 big cities,” shared Matt. But there is still work to be done, as “still, when we look at the data, they are still slightly off track, around 10% below where they should be to do that halving of fossil fuels and emissions by 2030.”
Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities, shared the progress of almost 100 big cities committed to climate action during Alfa Laval’s session in the COP28 Climate Hub.
Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities, shared the progress of almost 100 big cities committed to climate action during Alfa Laval’s session in the COP28 Climate Hub.

The key levers that cities can operate to reach their climate targets are solutions that reduce the demand for fossil fuels while improving the quality of life of citizens. Mark Watts mentioned clean air zones and building codes that contribute to more future-proof houses as two examples of these levers.
The point of updating building codes was echoed by Martina Otto, Head of CCAC Secretariat, UNEP-convened Climate and Clean Air Coalition, who called out that cooling is an important factor in energy use, and this will be increasingly true as global temperatures continue to rise. “We cannot rely on air conditioning,” said Martina, referencing new technologies like heat pumps as essential solutions to make cooling more energy-efficient.
During the session, we also heard from the mayors of Stockholm and Columbia, Missouri as well as the Head of Design of Masdar City. The solutions mentioned by Mark and Martina were reiterated, alongside other important measures such as integrated district heat recovery and designing passive buildings that are in less need of cooling, but the city representatives also emphasized the need for courage and forward thinking to meet the challenges we face. The climate goals cannot be reached without collaboration between cities, and between sectors.
80% of the solutions we need to reach net zero emissions in cities already exist, what is needed is the funding, political will, and policy support to implement them. In a panel featuring Thomas Møller, President Energy Division, Alfa Laval; Alicia Argüello, Head of Sustainability, Hitachi Energy; David Radermacher, Vice President Sustainability & Climate, E.ON SE; and Sebastian Peck, Partner, KOMPAS VC, these solutions were discussed along with the barriers preventing them from being implemented on a large scale.
Thomas Møller, President Energy Division, Alfa Laval emphasized the importance of renewable heating in net zero cities
Thomas Møller, President Energy Division, Alfa Laval emphasized the importance of renewable heating in net zero cities

Through high-quality heat exchangers, flexible production, energy storage, and smart energy use, cities can significantly reduce their energy use and reliance on fossil fuels. In cities across the world, renewable energy can be cheap to produce, but it needs to be integrated into the heating and mobility systems to accomplish the necessary emissions reductions.
Another important challenge is funding the implementation of energy-efficient systems in all cities in the world. Especially in developing nations, investors and governments alike need to give the necessary support to build efficient and clean energy infrastructure. “We need to give the global South access to the technology,” said David Radermacher, following up with “If we build new buildings in Africa, solar is the cheapest form [of energy].”
“We need to get it right from the beginning. If we look at where a lot of the heavier urbanisation is happening, there is also a lot of cooling needs,” added Thomas Møller, referencing that cities can use free cooling in combination with district cooling to be much more energy efficient.
To conclude the session, Rosalinde van der Vlies, Director, European Commission joined the program for some final remarks from her position as a European policymaker and speak on the mission of the European Commission to help 100 cities in Europe become climate neutral by 2050. “One of the key takeaways from what we’ve heard so far is that cities really have the superpower to accelerate the transition, to make up for the time we’ve lost, because we don’t have a lot of time left,” she emphasized.
Watch the full session from Dubai during day 6 of the COP28 Climate Hub below:
https://youtu.be/SjXNsElekRY?t=7739



About the COP28 Climate Hub

We Don’t Have Time hosted the COP28 Climate Hub in partnership with Race To Zero, UNDP, the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, and the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, amplifying the important high-level discussions at COP28 to a global audience. The live broadcast spanned over 10 days and covered a variety of climate-related topics.
Rewatch the COP28 Climate Hub anytime on We Don’t Have Time Play.
  • Patrick Kiash

    14 w

    Great article with great take aways Implementation of energy-efficient systems in all cities in the world is key. Such conversation and collaborations are very important.

    3
    • Anna Stark

      14 w

      Thank you for providing this information. I am delighted to come on this fantastic article https://pizzagames.io

      • walter lungayi

        14 w

        Building sustainable cities is crucial for the future, and it's great to see Alfa Laval addressing the challenges and solutions at COP28. Collaboration between experts, business leaders, policymakers, and city representatives is essential for scaling sustainable solutions globally.

        1
        • Munene Mugambi

          14 w

          We need to ensure we don't create hubs for disease or curtail movement of people. They need to be free, well maintained and easy to access

          1
          • George Kariuki

            14 w

            Courage and forward thinking are vital for city leaders to implement ambitious clean energy solutions.

            5
            • dickson mutai

              14 w

              Reducing emissions to integrating renewables, the solutions discussed offer a hopeful blueprint for building resilient and eco-friendly cities. Collaboration is key!

              6
              • Kevin

                14 w

                Very true the development of cities needs to be really considerate of urban planning and how best the environment can be protected

                2
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