Low-carbon cities could help reduce emissions significantly, save up to $22 trillion

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Green cities or low-carbon cities are the way ahead according to a new research by New Climate Economy as they can not only help reduce greenhouse gas emissions considerably, but also help us save a whopping $22 trillion by 2050.

The new research suggests the governments across the world should start investing in public and low emission transport, building efficiency, and waste management among other things to save up to $17 trillion by 2050. If countries start adopting national policies such as support for low-carbon innovation, reduced fossil fuel subsidies, and carbon pricing, the world could save another $5 trillion taking the total savings to up to $22 trillion by 2050.

Experts at New Climate Economy are calling upon cities to commit to low-carbon urban development strategies by the end of the decade. Further, the report is also calling out governments to commit to the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition of mayors and city officials pledging to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience to climate change, and track their progress transparently.

More than 130 cities – representing more than 220 million people – have already committed to the Compact of Mayors and will be setting ambitious emissions reduction targets and reporting publicly.

Creative policy instruments and innovative financing can help cities overcome barriers to action, the report says. For every $1 invested in improving the creditworthiness of cities, more than $100 can be leveraged through private finance for low-carbon urban infrastructure. And every $1 million invested in project preparation could yield $20–50 million in capital support for successful projects.

“The steps that cities take to shrink their carbon footprints also reduce their energy costs, improve public health, and help them attract new residents and businesses,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. “This report can help accelerate the progress cities are making in all of these areas, by highlighting smart policies and encouraging cooperation through efforts like the Compact of Mayors.”

“Better, more resilient models of urban development are particularly critical for rapidly urbanizing cities in the developing world,” said Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro and Chair of C40 Cities. “Cities around the world are already leading the way in implementing sustainable and innovative urban solutions. By sharing and scaling-up these best practices through international collaboration, cities can save money and accelerate global climate action.”

The report also recommends that the international community should develop an integrated package of $1 billion or more over five years to help accelerate and scale up low-carbon urban strategies in at least the world’s largest 500 cities.