Weeks after the landmark Paris climate deal was signed in New York by leaders from all over the world, the fear that the momentum will lull is being counteracted by a new initiative launched by an economic group.
The New Climate Economy (NCE) has formed the Coalition of Urban Transitions, an organization that aims to help cities accelerate the work that arises from the climate agreement while ensuring sustainable growth.
Announced at the Climate Action Summit in Washington D.C. on May 5, the coalition is a collaboration between the NCE, the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.
The Coalition of Urban Transitions will be comprised of business and financial leaders, city officials, think tanks and urban-planning experts.
It will support cities by making them a focus of national economic planning, improving access to funding for low-carbon infrastructure, and boosting climate-friendly urban growth, especially in developing countries.
Research from the NCE has found that investing in public transportation, as well as developing efficient waste management systems in cities would all unlock $17 trillion-worth of economic dividend by the middle of the century from energy savings. C40 experts say this is only a fraction of the huge benefits.
Doing so would also lessen carbon emissions every year by more than the annual emissions in India, they say.
However, individual cities often do not have the resources to perform large-scale investments meant for urban infrastructure. In order for cities to take the necessary steps, national governments "must empower them."
According to an article written for The Huffington Post by Michael Bloomberg, Mayor Anne Hidalgo of Paris, and Mayor Eduardo Paes of Brazil, national laws hinder cities from borrowing money or using local tax revenues.
The trio writes that more cities must be able to take steps like the one made by Lima in Peru, a city that worked to get a credit rating to issue bonds and invest in sustainable mass transit.
Additionally, national governments that work side-by-side with the private sector and cities could use the power of urban areas to innovate and invest, C40 experts say. This will help set into motion plans for the landmark climate deal.
Photo: Bryan Hayes | Flickr