Buildings account for more than one-third of all final energy consumption and half of global electricity use. While rapid urban development demands new infrastructure, there is a cost-effective solution for reducing buildings’ environmental impacts—energy efficiency.
Through the Compact of Mayors and parallel initiatives, cities are making ambitious commitments to curb emissions, adopting new greenhouse gas emissions measuring standards, and supporting the financing of low-carbon infrastructure.
Next week at the UN Climate Summit in New York City, leaders from business, national government, and cities will convene to discuss bold actions to address climate change in various sectors, including transport.
And while climate change is an international challenge, climate action in the transport sector is proven to create significant and immediate development benefits at the national and local levels.
A new report, Better Growth, Better Climate, finds that there are several actions city leaders can take that can reduce emissions while driving economic growth.
The report finds that connected, compact cities could save $3 trillion in infrastructure investments over the next 15 years. Not only that, but they can also curb global climate change and yield immediate local benefits for air quality, health, and quality of life.
City leaders will have a key role at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City, which brings together heads of state, mayors, business leaders and civil society representatives to work toward an international agenda to tackle climate change and build resilience.
While many of these criticisms are justified, if one looks beyond the shiny new stadiums—namely, to the city streets—a more positive story emerges. World Cup-related investments helped finance sustainable transport systems that will benefit Brazilians long after the final whistle blows.
While the vast majority of citizens in developing cities don’t own cars, infrastructure is still being designed and financed to support motor vehicle travel. In Mexico, for example, less than one-third of urban trips are made in cars, but three-quarters of the federal mobility budget is allocated to highways.
It’s time for the world’s cities to start thinking about moving people rather than moving cars.