Investing in Climate-resilient Cities Benefits National Economic Prosperity, Report Finds
Yokohama, Japan / Viviane Okubo on Unsplash
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The report recommends that national governments allow local governments to introduce climate policies that are more ambitious than national policies.

National governments can achieve faster, fairer economic development by investing in zero-carbon cities and that investments in low-carbon measures in cities will be worth at least USD 23.9 trillion by 2050.

19 September 2019: The Coalition for Urban Transitions has published a report that show that transitioning to zero-carbon, climate-resilient cities can help achieve national economic prosperity and improve quality of life, while tackling climate change at the same time.

The report titled, ‘Climate Emergency: Urban Opportunity: How National Governments Can Secure Economic Prosperity and Avert Climate Catastrophe by Transforming Cities,’ underscores the social and economic benefits of creating net-zero-emission cities, and presents a six-point action plan for national governments. The report concludes that national governments can achieve faster, fairer economic development by investing in zero-carbon cities and that investments in low-carbon measures in cities will be worth at least USD 23.9 trillion by 2050.

The six priorities for national action detailed in the report are:

  • developing a strategy to deliver shared prosperity while achieving net zero emissions, focused on compact, connected, clean cities and a partnership between national and local governments;
  • aligning national policies behind cities through, inter alia, removing land-use and building regulations that limit higher density, reforming energy markets to decarbonize the electricity grid, reaching net zero operating emissions in buildings with minimal use of carbon offsets, banning the sale of fossil fuel-powered vehicles and adopting green alternatives to steel and cement;
  • funding and financing sustainable urban infrastructure through, for example, eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, establishing a carbon price of USD 40-80 per tonne, scaling land-based financing instruments to fund sustainable urban infrastructure and limit sprawl, and funding for public transport;
  • coordinating and supporting local climate action in cities through, inter alia, authorizing local governments to introduce climate policies that are more ambitious than national policies, and allocating at least a third of national research and development budgets to support cities’ climate priorities;
  • building a multilateral system that fosters inclusive, zero-carbon cities through, among other measures, scaling up climate action in cities in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), requiring international financial institutions to halt fossil fuel financing and ensuring that international development assistance is aligned with national urban strategies that are compatible with the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and
  • proactively planning for a just urban transition through strengthening tenure security for the urban poor, enhancing climate resilience and gender equality through educating youth, using revenues from fossil fuel subsidy reform or carbon taxes to compensate people who bear the costs of climate action, and supporting the future workforce, including by helping with the transition of fossil fuel-based workers and industries.

The report, which was released on 19 September 2019, represents a collaborative effort of more than 50 organizations. [Publication: Climate Emergency: Urban Opportunity: How National Governments Can Secure Economic Prosperity and Avert Climate Catastrophe by Transforming Cities] [Executive Summary] [Publication Landing Page] [Coalition for Urban Transitions Website]


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