Immediate action to counter the impact of climate change could prevent over a million premature deaths per year, a new research report from C30 Cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and the New Climate Institute.
The Climate Opportunity: More Jobs; Better Health; Liveable Cities report argues that immediate action on climate change, including energy efficiency retrofits in buildings, enhanced bus networks and renewable energy initiatives, could be the difference between life and death for millions of people.
The report also argued the profound economic benefits, concluding that climate action could 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.
Report authors argue that climate policies lead to positive public health and economic outcomes across countries and regions.
Some of the main findings of the study include:
Investments in residential energy efficiency retrofits could result in a net creation of 5.4 million jobs in cities across the globe. Such investments would also result in significant household savings, as well as emissions reductions.
Improved public transport could prevent the premature deaths of nearly one million people per year from air pollution and traffic fatalities worldwide. Improved transport networks could also save 40 billion hours of commuters’ time every year by 2030, while achieving important emissions reductions.
District-scale renewable energy for heating and cooling in buildings could prevent a further 300,000 premature deaths per year by 2030. Renewable energy could contribute to significant emissions reductions and create approximately 8.3 million jobs.
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.
“Cities account for 73 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, making large-scale climate action in urban areas an urgent focus of efforts to meet the highest goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Thomas Day, Partner at NewClimate Institute, who led the research.
“While cities are already leading the way in emissions reductions by cutting energy usage in their buildings, transport systems, and industries, Climate Opportunity will give policymakers a compelling justification for climate action by illustrating the deep connection between climate and other urban priorities like public health, poverty alleviation and economic growth.”