Buro Happold contributes to C40 Cities climate research

The new research provides cities with ambitious plans to tackle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution simultaneously. Actions that could yield an 87% reduction in GHG emissions, a 49% reduction in PM2.5 levels, 223,000 premature deaths averted and up to $583 billion in economic benefit.

The research findings show that if the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group’s 96-member cities implement the specific actions to achieve clean transport, buildings and industry outlined, in combination with a decarbonised grid, these results can be achieved.

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In the transport sector, priority actions include: Implementing ambitious walking, cycling and mass transit policy and action; prioritising transit-oriented development; introducing stringent emission standards; policies to support shift to zero tailpipe-emission vehicles; freight optimisation; and introducing zero emission areas.

In the buildings sector, priority actions include: Introducing stringent standards for new buildings; retrofitting the building envelope; improving heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and water heating; and lighting, automation and controls.

Finally, in the in the industry sector priority actions to help deliver the plan include: industrial operational improvements and energy efficient technologies; emissions capture; fugitive emissions control; and maintenance and monitoring.

Curbing climate change and air pollution are two of the biggest challenges of our time. The evidence from this study shows the importance of taking ambitious action now to create resilient and healthier cities.
Duncan Price, Director, Sustainability 

Urban air pollution is a global health emergency: a recent WHO report estimates that globally, 630 million children under 5 years old are exposed to unsafe air. This was also a major focus of the first-ever WHO Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health.

Cities already taking action to fight air pollution include Mexico City that has introduced a self-regulation scheme to reduce industrial emissions and Santiago in Chile, which is replacing domestic wood burning stoves with cleaner, high-efficiency stoves. A number of other cities have also committed to implementing clean transport, buildings and energy through declarations on fossil-fuel free Green & Healthy Streets, Net Zero Buildings, and 100% renewable energy.

Image: C40 Cities

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.
Mark Watts, C40 Executive Director 

“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,” said C40 Executive Director Mark Watts. “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.”

The research forms part of C40’s global effort to help cities make the case for climate action by establishing evidence that a climate-safe city is a healthy, prosperous and livable city. Through this work, C40 is highlighting how effective climate action can also deliver health, equity, and economic benefits, in addition to reducing emissions and climate risk.

The research was funded by a grant from Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc. and conducted by C40 in collaboration with BuroHappold and expert consultation from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants (CERC).

Download the research here.

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