Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Future of the World’s Urban Economy and Carbon Emissions

Cities and the New Climate Economy: The Transformative Role of Global Urban Growth (68 page pdf, Graham Floater and Philipp Rode, New Climate Economy Cities Paper 01. LSE Cities, London School of Economics and Political Science, Jul. 2014)

Today we review a report on the future likely for the globe’s urban areas in terms of growth, their increasing share of the world economy, population and greenhouse gas emissions. A “Three C” model is proposed that shows the advantages of cities adopting compact urban growth, connected infrastructure and coordinated governance that already has shown itself in cities such as Stockholm which has seen a 41% economic increase while reducing carbon emissions by 35% over the last 7 years.
 stockholm emissions  

Key Quotes:

“As a proportion of global population, the urban population is expected to reach 60% by 2030, with urban areas growing at a rate of 1.3 million people every week”

Urban sprawl, poor public transport infrastructure and a lack of basic services such as energy, water and waste can hinder accessibility and mobility, increase air pollution and exacerbate urban poverty, reducing the economic benefits of urban concentrations and increasing costs.”

Urban areas are associated with around 70% of global energy consumption and over 70% of energy-related carbon emissions”

“from 2012 to 2030…In total, cities are projected to be responsible for 56% of the global increase in carbon emissions”  

“Urban air pollution is projected to become the top environmental cause of premature mortality by 2050..in 2012 alone, air pollution resulted in around 7 million premature deaths”  

“almost 60% of growth in expected energy consumption is directly related to urban sprawl - more than the consumption related to increases in GDP and demographic changes”

“Due to the long life span of buildings, some have argued that a significant risk exists of locking in around 80% of 2005 global energy use in buildings by 2050 “

“The IPCC estimates that a 20 to 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from urban transport is possible between 2010 and 2050, “ “The 3C model:
  • Compact urban growth: .. encourages higher densities, contiguous development, functionally and socially mixed neighbourhoods, walkable and human-scale local urban environments…
  • Connected infrastructure: .. Bus Rapid Transit, cycle superhighways, electric vehicles, smart grids, energy efficient buildings and essential water, sanitation and waste services….
  • Coordinated governance: …particularly for land-use change and transport.”
“A number of cities are already showing that compact, connected and coordinated urban pathways can go hand in hand with strong economic growth. While Stockholm reduced transport, heating and electricity emissions by 35% between 1993 and 2010 from a low starting point, the city’s economic output grew by 41% over the same period… car ownership in London decreased by 6% between 1995 and 2011, while the city’s economy grew by around 40% “    

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