Last week, a report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate concluded that action against climate change need not sacrifice economic growth—despite widely held views to the contrary.
"The low-carbon growth path can lead to as much prosperity as the high-carbon one, especially when account is taken of its multiple other benefits: from greater energy security to cleaner air and improved health," concluded the 70-page Better Growth Better Climate report, which was published last Tuesday.
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World energy demand will grow by a third by 2030, according to Felipe Calderon, the former president of Mexico who chairs the global; climate commission. During that time, some $90 trillion is seen being invested in infrastructure affecting the world's cities, land use and energy systems.
For climate change activists like Calderon, this represents an opportunity to move away from reliance on high-carbon pollutants.
At present, carbon usage varies widely across developed world cities. According to Calderon, carbon emissions per person from public and private transportation in Atlanta, Georgia, are 10 times higher than in Barcelona, Spain. The U.S. city is marked by urban sprawl and spotty public transport, while Spain's second-biggest city is more compact and has invested heavily in mass transit.