Accelerating Low-Carbon Development in the World’s Cities

Source: Andy Gouldson, Sarah Colenbrander, Andrew Sudmant, Nick Godfrey, Joel Millward-Hopkins, Wanli Fang and Xiao Zhao, Working Paper, September 2015

This New Climate Economy Working Paper was written as a supporting document for the 2015 report of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, Seizing the Global Opportunity: Partnerships for Better Growth and a Better Climate. It reflects the research conducted for Section 2.1 of the full report and is part of a series of 10 Working Papers. It reflects the recommendations made by the Global Commission. The 2015 report was directed by Michael Jacobs and managed by Ipek Gencu.

From the press release:
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….Creative policy instruments and innovative financing can help cities overcome barriers to action, the report says. For every US$1 invested in improving the creditworthiness of cities, more than US$100 can be leveraged through private finance for low-carbon urban infrastructure. And every US$1 million invested in project preparation could yield US$20–50 million in capital support for successful projects.
The report offers numerous examples of cities that have achieved or can achieve economic benefits from green investments.
• Bus Rapid Transit: The economic returns of Johannesburg’s Bus Rapid Transit system in its first phase were close to US$900 million.
• Building efficiency: Singapore’s “Green Mark” program, for instance, which aims to cover 80% of its buildings by 2030, could see a reduction in building electricity use of 22% and net economic savings of over US$400 million.
• Cycling: Copenhagen’s planned Cycle Super Highways are estimated to have an internal rate of return on investment of 19% per year….