Low-carbon economies could save US$22tn, says report

According to the report, low-carbon investments could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3.7 Gt CO2e annually by 2030, more than the current annual emissions of India

In the UK, new research from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate has found that low-carbon cities with supportive national policies could save up to US$22 trillion worldwide.

The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate is a major new international initiative to analyse and communicate the economic benefits and costs of acting on climate change.

The research indicates that investing in low emission transport, building efficiency and waste management in cities could generate savings with a current value of US$17 trillion by 2050.

According to the commission’s website, research has also revealed that adding to the creation of low-carbon public infrastructure, supportive national policies such as support for low-carbon innovation, reduced fossil fuel subsidies, and carbon pricing, savings could be as high as US$22 trillion.

The report released by the commission advises cities to employ low-carbon urban development strategies by 2020.

It also suggests that cities worldwide commit to the Compact of Mayors – a global coalition of mayors and city officials committing to reduce local greenhouse emissions, strengthen resilience toward climate change and track its progress transparently.

Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, said: “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.”

Low-carbon economies in the developing world

Officials from countries as far as Brazil and South Africa have also pledged and expressed their commitment for the transition toward low-carbon economies.

According to a commission statement, Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro and Chair of C40 Cities, said: “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.”

Parks Tau, Mayor of Johannesburg, in South Africa added: “In Johannesburg, the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit and the highly competitive ZAR1.5 billion green bond both demonstrate a commitment to economic growth and investment rooted in resilient, sustainable urban development.”

In Asia, the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA) launched their Green Mark Program in January 2005, which promotes sustainable construction in Singapore through the implementation of green and innovative building design and technologies.

The report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate adds that international community should “develop an integrated package of US$1 billion or more over five years” in a bid to accelerate the adoption of low-carbon strategies in the world’s 500 major cities.