Much of the power to reduce climate emissions lies now with cities rather than national governments says the World Bank in a new report.
There is a window of opportunity to build climate-smart cities in developing countries, which in reality account for 90% of urban growth.
The World Bank is planning to step up financing in this area as well as promote capacity initiatives to help address today’s urban infrastructure challenges.
The growing importance of cities as drivers of climate change was hard to miss at COP 21 in Paris. Recognising this, the World Bank is looking to expand its support to cities in achieving a sustainable, resilient, and lower carbon path.
Cities are where the emissions are, responsible for more than 70% of energy consumption and energy-related greenhouse gases. During COP21, more than 450 cities representing a total of 1 billion people have pledged to reduce emissions by more than 50% over about 15 years.
In developing countries – which account for 90 percent of urban growth – there is a window of opportunity to build climate-smart cities.
The State of the City Climate Finance report, released at COP 21, , highlights the challenges these countries face and proposes both innovative and traditional solutions.
“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build livable, resilient, low-carbon cities,” said Laura Tuck, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. “We must seize the opportunity. Too many cities today are facing a critical shortage in tapping into the finance they need.”
According to the report, roughly $4.1 trillion needs to be spent on urban infrastructure every year just to keep up with projected growth in a “business-as-usual” scenario, and an estimated incremental 9-27 percent ($0.4-$1.1 trillion) more for low-emission and climate-resilient infrastructure.
The World Bank Group has committed to grow climate work by a third to 28% of annual commitments by 2020 with the support of shareholders. This means providing $16 billion dollars per year by 2020 across the World Bank Group.