Low-carbon cities a $24tn opportunity, says report

According to researchers, technically feasible low-carbon measures could cut emissions from urban areas by almost 90% by 2050.

The report, Climate Emergency, Urban Opportunity, published by the Coalition for Urban Transitions on 19 September, noted the net present value of investment in these measures would be $24tn – almost one-third of GDP in 2018. Investments of around £1.8tn would be required each year, though would yield $2.8tn in returns in 2030 and $6.9tn in 2050.

Low-carbon measures would be deployed in residential and commercial buildings, the transport, waste and materials sectors, alongside decarbonisation of electricity supply. They would support 87mn jobs in 2030, mostly from deep building efficiency improvements, the analysis said, and 45mn in 2050. These jobs would predominantly come from the transport sector.

The report warned that city governments alone would not be able to realise these economic opportunities and identified six priority areas for national action. It called for cities to be placed at the heart of national strategies with the aims of shared prosperity and reaching net-zero; alignment of national policies behind compact, connected, clean cities; the funding and financing of sustainable urban infrastructure; the coordinating and support of local climate action in cities; building a multilateral system that fosters inclusive, zero-carbon cities; and proactive planning for a just transition to zero-carbon cities.

Coalition for Urban Transitions