Investing in zero-carbon cities is good for the climate and the economy

Implementing low-carbon measures in cities could reduce urban emissions by nearly 90%, support 87 million jobs annually by 2030 and unlock nearly $24 trillion by 2050, finds a new report from the Coalition for Urban Transitions.

National governments that invest in low-carbon cities can enhance economic prosperity, make cities better places to live and rapidly reduce carbon emissions, according to a new report from the Coalition for Urban Transitions.

“Cities are engines of growth, innovation and prosperity,” António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said in a statement. “This report shows how the right investments can build sustainable and liveable cities and communities that will help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of the Paris Agreement.”

According to the report Climate Emergency, Urban Opportunities, it is possible to cut 90% of emissions from cities using technologies and practices that are currently available, such as more efficient lighting, electric vehicles, improved freight logistics and sold waste management.

While pursuing them would require an investment of $1.8 trillion (approximately 2% of global GDP) per year, they would generate annual returns worth $2.8 trillion in 2030 and $7.0 trillion in 2050 based on cost savings alone – unlocking almost $24 trillion by 2050. What’s more, many of these low-carbon measures would pay for themselves in less than five years.

The report also found that investments in low-carbon measures in cities could support 87 million jobs annually by 2030, while at the same time reducing air pollution, cutting traffic congestion and improving worker productivity.

“National governments with the vision to invest in smart, sustainable cities today will see great returns on their investment,” said prominent economist Lord Nicholas Stern.

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