Low-carbon cities are a $17 trillion opportunity

By Mike Hower, GreenBiz.

The disparate efforts of cities around the world to take climate action were amplified on the international stage late last year when more than 2,000 municipalities around the world signed the Compact of Mayors, which focuses on scaling up climate resilience efforts, energy efficiency programs, resilient financing mechanisms and public carbon emissions reporting.

Pursuing such low-carbon policies actually could have a hefty payback, according to new research from the New Climate Economy. Investing in public and low emission transportation, building efficiency and waste management in cities could generate savings with a current value of $17 trillion by 2050.

These low-carbon investments also could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3.7 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Gt CO2e) per year by 2030 — more than the current annual emissions of India.