Cities across the country are in a constant struggle to provide for their residents, while maintaining financial security. This is made more challenging as municipalities are forced to spend precious resources on mitigating the threats of a changing environment. However, a newly released report indicates that climate-smart cities can actually boost economic growth, and improve living conditions for residents, all while decreasing fossil fuel emissions.
Echoing previous studies, the report debunks the myth that upfront costs of addressing climate change are too high. Rather, the data compiled from numerous cities indicates that in the long term, the costs of smart urban planning, accessible public transport, increased energy efficiency standards, and a host of other climate conscious measures are quickly recuperated.
Investing in sustainability is a win-win for cities. Providing needed infrastructure, improving the lives of residents, and decreasing their carbon footprint are all benefits that any city leader would like to accomplish. Municipal and community leadership is required to push communities towards a Path to Positive climate solutions.
Putting cities on a course of smart growth – with expanded public transit, energy-saving buildings, and better waste management – could save as much as $22tn and avoid the equivalent in carbon pollution of India’s entire annual output of greenhouse gasses, according to leading economists.
The Global Commission on Climate and Economy, an independent initiative by former finance ministers and leading research institutions from Britain and six other countries, found climate-smart cities would spur economic growth and a better quality of life – at the same time as cutting carbon pollution.
If national governments back those efforts, the savings on transport, buildings, and waste disposal could reach up to $22tn ($14tn) by 2050, the researchers found. By 2030, those efforts would avoid the equivalent of 3.7 gigatonnes a year – more than India’s current greenhouse gas emissions, the report found.
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