UNU-IAS Report Highlights Urban Climate Co-Benefits

Unuiaslogo18 November 2013: The UN University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) has launched a policy report, titled ‘Urban Development and Climate Co-Benefits: Aligning Climate, Environmental and Other Development Goals in Cities.' The report examines challenges and opportunities in implementing urban climate co-benefit approaches, with a particular focus on developing country cities and sub-national processes in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Japan.

The report was released on the sidelines of the Warsaw Climate Change Conference.

Climate co-benefit approaches encompass policies and strategies that simultaneously address climate change and local environmental problems, such as linking mitigation initiatives with actions in the energy, housing, transportation or waste sectors. According to the report, it is easier to plan, implement and measure co-benefits at local scales.

Case studies analyze how a project, programme or policy intervention generated co-benefits. Examples include: addressing climate change in the energy and waste management sectors in Sao Paulo, Brazil; tackling climate change and urban pollution through transport initiatives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; lowering GHG emissions and pollution levels through voluntary commitments in Shenyang, China; reducing air pollution and realizing co-benefits in the industrial and transport sectors in New Delhi, India; and reducing GHG emissions by reducing deforestation and implementing waste composting schemes in Surabaya, Indonesia.

Findings include the role of governments in expanding and replicating initiatives to achieve large scale impacts and radical changes; and a lack of awareness on potential mitigation impacts and domestic and international climate finance resources. Further, the environmental sector is rarely the main driver of co-benefits and climate challenges did not drive the initiatives.

In the short-term, the report proposes waste management initiatives as most appropriate. Energy, industry and transport initiatives are more appropriate as medium term initiatives, according to the report, because such initiatives have high institutional complexity and require large initial investments. The report identifies building and land use initiatives as medium to long-term initiatives, explaining land use changes are often needed.

The report suggests ways to scale up climate co-benefits, such as mainstreaming co-benefits into development agendas, linking co-benefit approaches to the green economy or including co-benefits as criteria in selecting best available options in National Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs).

The Ministry of the Environment of Japan supported the publication. [Publication: Urban Development and Climate Co-Benefits: Aligning Climate, Environmental and Other Development Goals in Cities] [Event Description]