Unlocking the Hidden Economic Potential of Cities

This article originally appeared on the blog for GLOBE Leadership Summit for Sustainable Business.

Cities are already the powerhouses of the global clean energy economy. But with greater private-sector engagement, they stand to contribute even more.

When we consider both their potential to reduce carbon and drive economic growth, cities are hugely important players on the global stage. Indeed, new C40 research indicates that urban policy decisions made before 2020 could determine up to a third of the remaining safe global carbon budget that is not already locked-in by past decisions.

Fortunately, mayors of the world’s largest cities—including the more than 80 members of the C40—are discovering that the policies and programs that reduce their emissions are driving substantial green growth in their local economies. In fact, the New Climate Economy recently found that building smarter cities—by investing in low emission transport, more efficient buildings, and waste management—represents a vast $17 trillion opportunity worldwide by 2050.

At the recent COP21 climate negotiations in Paris, Ban Ki-moon, Christiana Figueres, Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Redford and others joined more than 400 mayors at the Climate Summit for Local Leaders in Paris. All called upon local leaders to drive global action on climate. The summit underscored that cities will prove critical partners in helping national governments achieve their agreed-upon carbon emissions reductions.

Just prior to COP21, the C40 released a roadmap for prioritizing city climate action. It identifies the two keys that will unlock the greatest potential for urban climate action: Finance and collaboration.

Indeed, over the 18 months we have worked to increase financing options for cities, including a robust technical effort to help cities increase their creditworthiness; launch of the C40 Finance Facility – an effort to unlock up to $1 billion in green infrastructure over the next four —> Read More