C40 unveils plan to tackle climate change, air pollution in cities
Controlling emissions from energy-guzzling buildings, transport, and industry can help tackle climate change and air pollution simultaneously, preventing a large number of premature deaths in cities, new research released on Tuesday at the ongoing global climate summit, COP24 revealed.
Cities are responsible for nearly 70 percent of global carbon dioxide emission with almost 80 percent of urban population exposed to a dangerous level of air pollution.
A sustained exposure to these pollutants including extremely fine particles, PM2.5 that directly enters our bloodstream, contributes significantly to seven million premature deaths globally.
C40, a network of the world's megacities while releasing the report claimed a set of action would reduce emissions. It would control greenhouse gas emission in cities by 87 percent, and slash PM2.5 level by 49 percent preventing 223,000 premature deaths, saving 583 billion U.S. dollars.
The research, "Toward A Healthier World" estimates that, in 96 cities studied, buildings release a whopping 52 percent, and road traffic emits 25 percent of total greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. In terms of air pollution; road transport contributes 37 percent of PM 2.5, buildings around 16 percent, and industry nearly 14 percent.
“By supporting and implementing actions for cleaner public transport like strengthening opacity regulations, creating a zero-emissions zone at the historic center and migrating to a municipal electric bus fleet, we will improve air quality, public health and make our cities more livable," said Mauricio Rodas, Vice-Chair of C40.
Researchers suggested that implementing ambitious walking, cycling and mass transit policy, and prioritizing transit-oriented development are critical areas for reducing emissions from the transport sector. Buildings need to improve heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and water heating systems to control emissions.
A considerable number of cities have already started taking action to reduce emissions from buildings and transport sector. Paris is replacing heating systems that consume less energy, and Santiago is installing the rooftop solar system and renovating buildings to conserve energy.
A large number of cities are replacing diesel-run buses with electric bus fleet to reduce emission.
Mexico City introduced a self-regulation scheme to reduce industrial emissions; Chile is replacing domestic wood burning stoves with cleaner, high-efficiency stoves; Chennai, India is developing a roadmap to implement electric buses, the C40 statement said.
After implementing the measures, PM2.5 emission from transport sector reduced by 19 percent, and buildings were able to curtail greenhouse gas emission by 61 percent, the study found.
“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.