Cities are at the forefront of the climate crisis. In this course, you will learn how cities can tackle climate change and build a more sustainable and just future. Explore how to develop a science-based climate action plan, inspired by the experiences and best practices of cities around the world. 

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The planet is at a tipping point. We are facing an unprecedented disaster of global scale: climate change. To protect the lives and livelihoods of billions of urban dwellers, cities must adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change, as well as mitigate its causes.

Cities consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO₂ emissions. Also, the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events are causing significant damage to urban infrastructure, economic activities, natural ecosystems, and most importantly to people, especially the most vulnerable.

Yet just as cities are part of the problem, they are integral to its solution. Many cities are leading the way in finding solutions for the sake of the more than 4 billion urban dwellers spread across the world. From Buenos Aires to Freetown, cities are planning to adapt to climate risks and reduce the emissions that are causing the climate breakdown.

Featuring original video interviews with 20 climate experts and city officials and over 70 case studies from Global South cities, this course offers an unparalleled learning experience to help build a more sustainable and just urban future for all.

Learning Objectives

This course aims to provide an inspirational roadmap for cities seeking to develop or update their work on integrated climate action planning.

Climate Crisis

Learn about the scientific evidence of the climate crisis, what are its causes and impacts, and how it is affecting people all around the world, especially the most vulnerable.

Role of Cities

Understand the key role cities play in addressing the climate crisis and building a green and just future. Be inspired through case studies from cities around the world, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where more than 90% of the projected global urban growth by 2050 will take place.

Integrated Planning

Learn how to integrate climate action within cross-departmental planning and development strategies, applying inclusive and equitable principles in climate action planning and practice.

Climate Action

Understand what are the building blocks needed to make a city more ambitious on climate action and develop a science-based integrated climate action plan.

Course at a glance

Featuring original video interviews with 20 climate experts and city officials and more than 70 case studies from global South cities, this course offers an unparalleled learning experience to address the climate crisis at the city level and build a more sustainable and just urban future for all.


8 hours


English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian Bahasa and Mandarin Chinese


Personalized certificate provided upon course completion

Course Outline

1.1 Climate Crisis: Defining the global climate crisis and its local impacts and explaining the urgency of why we need to act now 

1.2 Leadership of Cities: Why cities at the forefront of tackling the climate crisis 

1.3 Integrated Climate Action Planning: Why integrated climate action planning is essential to build sustainable and just cities 

2.1 Strategic Appraisal: Where to start planning for climate action 

2.2 Inclusive Climate Action: Why climate change and inequality should be tackled jointly 

2.3 Climate Mitigation: How a city can measure its own emissions and mitigate climate change 

2.4 Climate Adaptation: How a city can assess its climate risks and adapt to climate change 

3.1 Setting Targets: How to set ambitious yet realistic science-based targets 

3.2 Prioritizing Actions: How to prioritize actions that will be impactful, beneficial and feasible 

3.3 Financing Climate Action: How to embed a climate lens in local projects 

3.4 Tracking Progress: How to measure and assess the progress of targets and actions 

4.1 Climate Governance: How to establish vertical and horizontal integration and effective climate governance 

4.2 Committing to Climate Action: Top tips for cities looking to plan for climate action 

Course Authors

Matheus Ortega
Matheus Ortega Senior Manager Climate Action, UrbanShift, C40 Cities
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Matheus has more than 10 years of professional experience in sustainable urban development. He has managed £18m in development programmes in Global South cities working with C40 Cities, UK Government, World Bank, UN-Habitat, and others. Matheus has a BA in International Relations, a MSc in International Development from the London School of Economics, and a specialisation in Future Cities from the University of Oxford. An accredited city climate planner, his current role is to build capacity and support UrbanShift cities to commit to more ambitious targets and accelerated climate action.

Featured Resources


A sustainable future depends on whether cities can become more prosperous, more equal, and low-carbon at the same time. This synthesis report produced by WRI offering a roadmap for how to unleash transformative change in cities.


By looking at cities from a systems perspective, this UNEP report identifies pathways to resource efficiency and waste management for cities transitioning from a linear to a circular economy, outlining inspiring examples to initiate change in the way urban areas are planned and managed.


Cities are finding innovative ways to finance and implement projects with a focus on inclusion, equity, and a green and just recovery. This C40 report provides case studies from nine cities around the world, sharing actionable lessons for city officials and other stakeholders about how to access finance.




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