According to economists, improvements in energy efficient buildings, public transit, and better recycling and waste management initiations could save over $22 trillion. And cities that spend the money to make “green” improvements and adjustments to their community will benefit more financially in the long run, and continue to save money that would otherwise be spent on more costly and less environmentally-sound maintenance of the city.
In addition to the massive cost-cutting benefits, the economist’s suggested global movement towards energy efficiency could prevent the carbon pollution equivalent of India’s entire greenhouse gas output annually. The suggested preemptive climate-saving changes could save money spent by cities around the world, as well as prevent further spending on combating the negative effects of climate change.
An independent organization comprised of seven different countries’ leading finance ministers and research institutions called The Global Commission on Economy and Climate released their findings this September. Economists, financial experts, researchers, and scientists from Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom agree that a global movement towards “green” cities could save trillions of dollars.
Among the benefits the group listed as a side-effect of the world enacting energy-efficient initiatives were increased global living conditions, health, and quality of life as well as financial benefits and cost-savings. They also claimed the climate-conscious improvements to the world’s cities would dramatically reduce poisonous carbon pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The estimated savings of over $22 trillion could feasibly be reached by 2050 if world governments began making energy effective efforts within the year, according to expert analysis. The global savings would come from reduced costs from saving money on transportation, buildings, and waste disposal.
Researches also found that by 2030, the cost-effective efforts would simultaneously prevent 3.7 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year. But advocates within the group have acknowledged that the environmental benefits are not enough to tempt many world governments from enacting more energy efficient changes within their cities, so they performed the study to prove the cost-effective financial benefits of city upgrades to transportation, waste management, and buildings.
The study’s findings have disproved the concern that global energy efficient changes would be too costly. Researchers released the data to prove that reasonable improvements made to cities’ basic infrastructure could actually save them trillions of dollars, as well as reduce their pollution significantly within just 20 years.
Seth Schultz was among the economic researchers that were consulted for the report, in which he stated,“There is now increasing evidence that emissions can decrease while economies continue to grow. Becoming more sustainable and putting the world – specifically cities – on a low carbon trajectory is actually feasible and good economics.”
The report found that the most immediately noticeable changes, both financially and environmentally, would be in transportation. In many of the world’s largest cities, public transportation is almost non-existent, or is so dilapidated that it’s excessively expensive to run as well as extremely draining of costly and limited fossil fuels. Researchers said that by introducing more convenient and low-cost, energy efficient public transportation systems in every major city, lives could be saved from traffic accidents, commute times would be reduced by as much as 50% instantly, and millions of dollars would be saved in costs to run outdated transportation.
Individuals in urban areas would also save money personally by avoiding the expenses of owning, maintaining, and driving a car, while simultaneously reducing their individual carbon emissions, and would be travel statistically safer as well as faster. Improvements made in cities’ public transportations systems would create jobs and cut down on federal and personal costs, the study claims.
The study goes on to say that by making basic energy-efficient improvements in buildings, countless dollars could be saved in electricity spending, heat and cooling costs, and wasted water that racks up large bills. They even suggest that by harvesting biogas from waste management, cities’ waste could be harnessed as fuel to provide electricity to the cities’ communities, such as those already being done by Lagos in Nigeria and other cities around the world.
The suggested improvements for cities around the world could save an estimated $22 trillion as well as reduce harmful gas emissions, making the expert findings a powerful argument in the case for governments to make energy-efficient improvements a priority if they want to reduce national debt and spending.