Cities looking to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution simultaneously may soon be able to do so thanks to new research that identifies a set of priority actions that cities can take to reach their climate goals.

The research, from C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, shows that if cities take the ambitious actions outlined in the report they could see an 87% reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions, a 49% reduction in PM2.5 levels, 223,000 premature deaths averted and up to $583 billion in economic benefit.

Some of the actions strive for clean transport, buildings and industry as well as a decarbonised grid and include initiatives such as implementing ambitious walking, cycling and mass transit policy and action, introducing stringent standards for new buildings and industrial operational improvements and energy efficient technologies.

Taking bold climate action

C40 Executive Director Mark Watts says the 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.

“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,” he notes.

Advocating for climate-safe cities

This research is 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 study 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 and Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants.