TWENTY-TWO TRILLION DOLLARS. $22,000,000,000,000.00. That's the top side in savings as calculated by a group of economists who have just released their findings in a paper titled
"Accelerating Low-Carbon Development in the World's Cities"
The economic case for low-carbon urban development is compelling. Even with very conservative assumptions, the current global value of that opportunity could be US$16.6 trillion by 2050. And that value could increase significantly, and the payback periods on the investments could shorten substantially, with effective national and international support and continued leadership by cities. In addition, there is a compelling wider economic case for transformation towards a more compact, connected and efficient urban development model. As Better Growth, Better Climate shows, this model can also make cities more productive, socially inclusive, resilient, cleaner, quieter and safer.
This new study puts the kibosh on conservative naysayers who fear going green, pushing for lower carbon outputs in all industries might lead to the end of the world.
The amount of money saved can balloon even higher—much higher:
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.
They point to examples:
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.
They also have recommendations
ranging from the local level all the way to the national and international levels that do not seem particularly hard to achieve—when you think logically, of course.
City and local governments should demonstrate leadership by committing to ambitious emission reduction targets and/or low emission development strategies, aiming to be compliant with the framework of the Compact of Mayors by 2020.94 This should include building the skills of political leaders and municipal staff to plan, design, finance and deliver low-carbon development plans, and improving coordination of transport and land use decisions by integrating the authorities.
People like Rick Scott may have a hard time saying the phrase "climate change" but it's time we the people make people like Ricky put on their big boy pants and act like an adults.
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