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Climate Action in Cities Could Create 13.7 Million Jobs, Prevent 1.3 Million Premature Deaths

Cities around the world could create 13.7 million jobs and prevent 1.3 million premature deaths per year by 2030 by pursuing “ambitious urban climate policies” that “vastly reduce carbon emissions globally,” according to a report released over the weekend by C40 Cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors, and the NewClimate Institute.

Residential energy retrofit investments alone would produce 5.4 million new urban jobs, the study finds. Better transit services would prevent nearly a million premature deaths per year due to air pollution and traffic collisions, while achieving significant emission reductions and saving commuters a mind-boggling 40 billion hours per year. District energy systems would prevent a further 300,000 premature deaths per year and create about 8.3 million jobs.

“We need cities around the world to implement the bold climate policies detailed in this report if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change,” said C40 Cities Executive Director Mark Watts. “By demonstrating that these measures will also create green jobs, save lives, and cut consumer energy bills, we are making it even easier for mayors, policy-makers, and citizens to embrace the pace and scale of action needed.”

The three organizations released the report along with an online dashboard on the Global Covenant of Mayors site, designed to help municipalities develop local climate action plans. “This new tool will allow cities to tangibly use data from this report to plan how specific climate actions can improve emissions, create jobs, and increase savings customized to a city of their size,” said Executive Director Amanda Eichel.

“Our hope is that Climate Opportunity will help policy-makers in cities around the world show that taking steps to fight climate change is about so much more than reducing emissions,” said Bloomberg Philanthropies CEO Patti Harris. “It’s about improving the health and prosperity of our cities’ residents and making progress for society as a whole.”

NewClimate Institute Partner Thomas Day noted that cities account for 73% of global greenhouse gas emissions. “While cities are already leading the way in emissions reductions by cutting energy usage in their buildings, transport systems, and industries, Climate Opportunity will give policy-makers a compelling justification for climate action by illustrating the deep connection between climate and other urban priorities like public health, poverty alleviation, and economic growth,” he said.