Today, New Climate Economy released new research showing that investing in smart cities has the potential to generate savings of US $17 trillion by 2050, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 3.7 Gt CO2e per year by 2030 – more than the current annual emissions of India.

The report recommends that cities commit to low-carbon urban development strategies by 2020. It also recommends cities commit to the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition of mayors and city officials pledging to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience to climate change, and track their progress transparently. More than 130 cities – representing more than 220 million people – have already committed to the Compact of Mayors and will be setting ambitious emissions reduction targets and reporting publicly.

“Developing country cities have a major opportunity to lead the low-carbon future”, said Parks Tau, Mayor of Johannesburg.  “In Johannesburg, the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit and the highly competitive R1.5bn green bond both demonstrate a commitment to economic growth and investment rooted in resilient, sustainable urban development.”

In an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle today, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Rio de Janeiro Mayor and C40 Chair Eduardo Paes and UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change and C40 Board President Michael R. Bloomberg wrote:

In fact, we now know that many of the most effective ways to foster economic growth in cities are some of the very same actions needed to help fight climate change. Each of us has seen how investments in green infrastructure – including improving mass transit systems, promoting renewable energy, and creating more green space – attracts private capital and spurs economic development.

In an interview with the Guardian, C40’s Director of Research, Measurement and Planning Seth Schultz said:

“There is now increasing evidence that emissions can decrease while economies continue to grow. Becoming more sustainable and putting the world – specifically cities – on a low carbon trajectory is actually feasible and good economics.”

To read the press release, click here.

To read the op-ed in the Houston Chronicle, click here.

To read the Guardian article about the report, click here.

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