‘Ma­jor cities can fight cli­mate change and make bil­lions’

The Jerusalem Post - - HEALTH & SCIENCE - • By MICHAEL TAY­LOR

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Im­ple­ment­ing green strate­gies like bike lanes and bet­ter build­ing codes could bring 94 world cities a col­lec­tive $583 bil­lion worth of ben­e­fits, while fight­ing cli­mate change, ac­cord­ing to research by a global net­work of cities.

C40 Cities pin­pointed trans­port, build­ings and in­dus­try as pri­or­i­ties to be in­cor­po­rated into cli­mate change poli­cies. Do­ing so would en­cour­age large in­vest­ments and avert 223,000 pre­ma­ture deaths, as peo­ple live and work longer.

“This research quan­ti­fies and pro­vides the busi­ness case for what may­ors have long known to be true: tak­ing bold cli­mate ac­tion also im­proves pub­lic health,” C40 ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Mark Watts said in a state­ment. “There is no longer any trade-off for cities be­tween de­liv­er­ing poli­cies that ben­e­fit the en­vi­ron­ment, drive eco­nomic growth and im­prove the health of cit­i­zens.”

Cities are key in the fight against cli­mate change, ac­cord­ing to the World Bank Group’s In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion (IFC). More than half the global pop­u­la­tion lives in cities, which con­sume over twothirds of the world’s en­ergy, and ac­count for more than 70% of all car­bon diox­ide emis­sions, the IFC says. C40 re­searchers said cities should im­ple­ment walk­ing, cy­cling and mass tran­sit poli­cies, in­tro­duce strin­gent emis­sion stan­dards, pro­mote zero-emis­sions ve­hi­cles and es­tab­lish zero emis­sion ar­eas.

Cities should also adopt strict reg­u­la­tions for new build­ings and retro­fit older build­ings to im­prov­ing heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion, air con­di­tion­ing, wa­ter heat­ing and light­ing sys­tems, re­searchers added. In­dus­try and busi­nesses should use en­ergy ef­fi­cient tech­nolo­gies. Emis­sions cap­tur­ing and main­te­nance and mon­i­tor­ing are all im­por­tant if cli­mate goals are to be achieved, they said.

By fo­cus­ing on green ap­proaches to trans­port, build­ings and in­dus­try, cities could re­duce green­house gas emis­sions by 87% and haz­ardous air­borne pol­lu­tants known as PM2.5 by 49%, ac­cord­ing to the re­searchers.

“Where the prob­lem lies in terms of emis­sions, is also where the so­lu­tion lies,” said Mi­lag San Jose-Ballesteros, di­rec­tor for East, South­east Asia and Ocea­nia at C40 Cities in Sin­ga­pore. “It is not mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive when you talk about low-car­bon de­vel­op­ment and build­ing healthy cities.”

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