Accelerating low-carbon development in the world’s cities

New research from the New Climate Economy finds that investing in public and low emission transport, building efficiency, and waste management in cities could generate savings with a current value of US$17 trillion by 2050. These low-carbon investments could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3.7 Gt CO2e per year by 2030, more than the current annual emissions of India. With complementary national policies such as support for low-carbon innovation, reduced fossil fuel subsidies, and carbon pricing, the savings could be as high as US$22 trillion. 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. 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. The report recommends that cities commit to low-carbon urban development strategies by 2020. It also recommends cities 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.