Our cities play a vital role in the quest to achieve global ecological sustainability. They are the largest contributors to greenhouse gases and climate change. However, if we can achieve sustainable construction and use of urban infrastructure, our cities could become a critical leverage point in global efforts to drastically reduce emissions and avoid the social and economic costs associated with climate change, as well as enhance energy security and resilience in the face of high fossil energy prices.
The world's urban centers already account for close to 80 percent of CO2 emissions. In the next three decades, the global population will continue to grow and become ever more urban. Booz & Company analysis conducted for this report shows that under business-as-usual (BAU) assumptions, $350 trillion will be spent on urban infrastructure and usage during this period. This huge expenditure either can cause the ecological impact of our cities to become even more pronounced or can be a tremendous opportunity to reduce that impact.
To meet the urban challenge, cities around the worldâ€”in developed and developing nationsâ€”need to tackle climate change directly. Cities in developed nations can apply new technologies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions stemming from the usage of their existing infrastructure. They can invest in mobility management and incentivize sustainable lifestyle choices. Cities in developing nations can adopt best practices in urban planning and mobility management, as well as technological advances, to design sustainability into their new infrastructure. Every city is part of the solutionâ€”now is the time to act!