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Local Government Response to Climate Change

Urban areas within cities account for more than 50 percent of Earth's population and are estimated to be responsible for more than 70 percent of global carbon emissions. To combat this, decarbonization strategies are being employed by forward-thinking city leaders around the globe.

According to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research, smart city technologies will be a critical asset for this transformation.

Municipal decarbonization will be a component of local government efforts for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policies.

Government ESG Market Development

"The principles behind smart city technologies, such as increasing efficiency, better data management, and better decision making are also essential for decarbonization and reaching net-zero goals," said  Dominique Bonte, vice president at ABI Research.

Technologies such as digital twins, smart street lights, micro-grids, computer vision, smart city management platforms, and micro-mobility are all growing in popularity and can help with decarbonization.

The technologies can enhance decarbonization through more efficient energy use, better project planning, predictive maintenance, greener mobility options -- such as e-bikes and e-scooters -- and greater urban management through better data management.

There are many examples of cities deploying smart city technologies to enable decarbonization including the London UK recent expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) which uses a variety of technologies -- such as automatic number plate readers (ANPR), CCTV cameras, and environmental sensors to assess the impact of the new regulations.

Another example is Tengah, Singapore. It is Singapore’s innovation district and uses a variety of technologies to support decarbonization including a centralized cooling system, smart street lights, smart waste removal, a mobile app for citizens' smart meters, and mass rapid transport with a car-free city center.

According to the ABI assessment, these strategies not only have a direct impact on energy consumption but also encourage and enable citizens to make better choices to help the city decarbonize.  

"Cities have a great opportunity to influence how we reach net-zero goals through their ability to regulate, purchase, and influence their services. By opting for smarter, more resilient solutions they can reach and maintain their decarbonization goals to increase the health of their citizens and the wider community," Bonte concludes.

Outlook for Government ESG Applications Growth

That said, I believe more forward-looking state and local government agencies will encourage flexible working models for employees that have roles that enable them to work from home, or nearby.

As an example, across America, commuter traffic in State capitals includes many government employees that arrive at a work location around the same time, and then depart to return home at the same time each weekday. The adoption of flexible working models would deliver immediate benefits.

More smart city leaders need to consider the obvious benefits of adopting a distributed workforce model that will reduce avoidable commuter traffic. It's time to break free from obsolete working schedules that mandate the commute to a centralized office environment.

Governments must now embrace the Future of Work and contribute to local carbon footprint reduction. It's one of the most effective ways that elected and appointed leaders can reach sustainability objectives while also significantly improving their knowledge worker and frontline employee experience.

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