The Economic and Social Benefits of Low-Carbon Cities
Over half of the population of the world live in urban areas. This means that efforts to meet human development goals and sustain economic growth must be concentrated in cities.
However, the pursuit of more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable urban development is complicated by climate change, which multiplies existing environmental risks, undermines the effectiveness of existing infrastructure, and creates new resource constraints.
This systematic review of the literature focused on three sectors: energy efficiency in buildings, low-carbon transport, and sustainable waste management. Where relevant within each of these sectors, we identified and assessed four categories of co-benefits: public health, employment, congestion, and inclusion.
Key findings show that in almost every sector, the wider benefits of mitigation are comparable with, or greater than, the direct economic returns associated with reduced energy expenditure, transport fares, user fees, and so on.
This report is chock full of multiple benefits from going low carbon: reductions in indoor air pollution, improvements to human productivity, improvements in socio-economic standing, improved health, reduced transportation deaths, reductions in wasted fuel and commute time, creation of more jobs, and healthier work environments to name a few.