New C40 research gives cities plans to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution simultaneously.

C40 has released research findings that identify a set of priority actions that cities can take to tackle climate change and air pollution simultaneously, placing the transport, buildings and industry sectors at the top of the list.

C40 research highlights 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 USD583-billion in economic benefit. Credit: Creative Commons

The research shows that if C40’s 96-member cities take the ambitious actions outlined to achieve clean transport, buildings and industry, in combination with a decarbonised grid, the resulting benefits will include: an 87% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 49% reduction in PM2.5 levels, 223 000 premature deaths averted and up to UDS583-billion in economic benefit.

The research is funded by a grant from Johnson & Johnson Services 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).

Cities are already taking decisive action to fight air pollution. Mexico City introduced a self-regulation scheme to reduce industrial emissions; Santiago, Chile is replacing domestic wood burning stoves with cleaner, high-efficiency stoves; Chennai, India is developing a roadmap for implementing electric buses. Many more cities have committed to clean transport, buildings and energy through declarations on fossil-fuel free green and healthy streets, net zero buildings and 100% renewable energy.

This research presents specific actions that will yield significant benefits in both emissions reductions and air quality improvements.

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.

In the industry sector, priority actions include industrial operational improvements and energy efficient technologies; emissions capture; fugitive emissions control; and maintenance and monitoring.

“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,” says 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.”
“We are proud to partner with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group on this research which will help connect the dots between climate action, improved air quality and measurably better health benefits in vulnerable urban communities,” says Paulette Frank, worldwide VP of environmental health, safety and sustainability for Johnson & Johnson.

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


Read the new research here.