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Climate actions in cities

Impact of climate actions – such as London’s congestion charge – revealed
London Congestion Charge Picture from MyGreenPod Sustainable News

Following the historic climate deal agreed upon at COP21 in Paris, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) has launched new research highlighting the wide range of economic and social benefits arising from the climate actions of cities.

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Setting the pace

Cities will set the pace and scope of climate action until the COP21 agreement comes into force in 2020.

It’s hoped the research will help mayors and city leaders win the political argument for taking ‘urgent and ambitious’ climate action.

Citizens’ wellbeing

The report demonstrates that green actions not only help prevent climate change or protect the city from the effects of climate change, but can also have a positive impact on urban citizens’ economic and social wellbeing.

Job creation, improved air quality, better health and reduced congestion are just some of the benefits identified in the research.

‘In Copenhagen we believe that investing in green city solutions is an investment in our citizens’ wellbeing and sustainable economic opportunities. The new co-benefits report convincingly shows this relation: green city solutions, growth, sustainability and quality of life go hand in hand. I hope the analysis will inspire city leaders throughout the world.’

Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen

Measuring impacts

The report assesses the benefits of a range of climate actions in cities across the world: Bus Rapid Transit in Bogotá and Istanbul, congestion charges in London and Stockholm, LED street lights in Los Angeles and Sydney, green areas in Copenhagen and eco-roofs in Portland.

The research found that the benefits of London’s congestion charge – including fewer accidents, reduced travel time and improved local air quality – are valued at $180 million per year.

The report also gives an overview of various methods that can be used by cities to measure the co-benefits of climate action.

C40 cities

London, UK

London’s innovative congestion charging scheme has reduced vehicle numbers in the central business district by over 70,000 per day, cutting carbon emissions in central London by 15% since the congestion charge was introduced in 2003.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney has planned a large-scale scheme to have every resident be within a 250m walk of continuous green links that connect to major city parks.

Caracas, Venezuela

Faced with extreme water and electricity shortages, Caracas has introduced a number of austerity measures meant to cut demand and reduce carbon emissions.

Bangkok, Thailand

Highly threatened by climate change, including an increase in extreme weather and heatwaves, Bangkok has introduced a number of ambitious local public health infrastructure and education programmes.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

This African metropolis is using low-carbon building designs in an enormous construction programme that is moving a large population from unplanned ‘shanty towns’ into more formal living arrangements.

San Francisco, USA

As one of the most sustainable cities in the US, San Francisco has plans to move to zero waste by 2020. The city currently recycles or composts 77% of its waste, the highest rate of any major US city.

Research collaboration

The research findings will feed into further research on co-benefits led by C40 and supported by Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk and the C40 have formed a research-based partnership to ensure that green policies in cities are beneficial to both the state of the environment and the health of urban citizens.

The collaboration will see the organisations’ expertise and specialist knowledge combine to generate new insights on a range of co-benefits of climate action – in particular the health of city populations.

Click here to find out why ending climate change begins in cities.

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