Urban Climate Policies Can Create Nearly 14 Million Jobs in Cities

29,000 premature deaths could be prevented each year in the EU; 115,000 in China and 270,000 premature deaths could be prevented in South Asia.

As cities around the world accelerate efforts to meet their commitments to the Paris Agreement, new research from C40 Cities, The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and the NewClimate Institute, shows that ambitious urban climate policies can vastly reduce carbon emissions globally as well as effectively deliver enormous economic and public health benefits for cities.

Climate Opportunity: More Jobs; Better Health; Liveable Cities estimates that by 2030, a boost in urban climate action can prevent approximately 1.3 million premature deaths per year, net generate 13.7 million jobs in cities, and save 40 billion hours of commuters’ time plus billions of dollars in reduced household expenses each year.

Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Climate Opportunity examines a number of effective urban solutions to climate change, including energy efficiency retrofits in buildings, enhanced bus networks, and district-scale renewable energy, and shows that these climate actions are strong drivers of positive public health and economic outcomes across countries and regions. Top findings show that:

● Investments in residential energy efficiency retrofits will result in a net creation of 5.4 million jobs in cities worldwide. These investments will also result in significant household savings, as well as emissions reductions.

● Improved bus services and more extensive networks can prevent the premature deaths of nearly 1 million people per year from air pollution and traffic fatalities worldwide. Better service also saves 40 billion hours of commuters’ time each year by 2030 and achieves important emissions reductions.

● District-scale renewable energy for heating and cooling in buildings can prevent a further 300,000 premature deaths per year by 2030, as well as create approximately 8.3 million jobs and contribute to significant emissions reductions.

● Overall, climate action policies can have proportionally greater outcomes for lower income groups in developing cities, where populations have the most to gain from the introduction of new technologies.

“Climate Opportunity shows what the mayors of the world’s great cities have known for a long time: climate, public health, and a strong economy are deeply connected,” said Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities. “We need cities around the world to implement the bold climate policies detailed in this report, if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. By demonstrating that these measures will also create green jobs, save lives and cut consumer energy bills, we are making it even easier for mayors, policy-makers and citizens to embrace the pace and scale of action needed.”

Launching at the same time is an online dashboard hosted on the Global Covenant of Mayors’ website that allows cities to tangibly use data from this report to plan how specific climate actions — such as improving bus service, retrofitting buildings, or implementing renewable energy for heating and cooling — can improve emissions, create jobs, and increase savings customized to a city of their size.

“Taking action to combat climate change is not only critical to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, but it is also an important way to address many other challenges that cities face every day,” said Patti Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Our hope is that Climate Opportunity will help policymakers in cities around the world show that taking steps to fight climate change is about so much more than reducing emissions. It’s about improving the health and prosperity of our cities’ residents and making progress for society as a whole.”

The release of Climate Opportunity comes just ahead of this month’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, a worldwide gathering of policymakers, scientists, businesses, and activists committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement. In the lead-up to the summit, C40 Cities and the Global Covenant of Mayors invited mayors to enhance their commitments to bold climate action, as part of the “One Planet Charter.”

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