A new alliance between the global cities network C40 and the global environmental disclosure organisations CDP, has been established to uncover investment opportunities in urban infrastructure amounting to an estimated 375 billion dollars. The announcement, by C40 Executive Director, Mark Watts came at London’s City Hall during the C40 Financing Sustainable Cities Forum hosted in conjunction with the Greater London Authority.
The forum, which was supported by the Citi Foundation and WRI Ross Centre for Sustainable Cities, brought together, cities, investors, national governments, academics, private sector experts, NGOs and technology providers to identify the key barriers in financing sustainable urban infrastructure.
— EnergyforLondon (@energyforlondon) April 4, 2017
One of the headline messages from the event was the importance of mobilising private finance to provide cities with the necessary capital to invest in low-carbon, climate resilient infrastructure that are needed in order to meet targets agreed under the Paris Agreement.
C40 estimates that cities can contribute as much as 40% of the necessary emissions reductions to ensure the world warms by no more than 1.5˚C above the pre-industrial average. The Herculean effort required to achieve this goal will require similarly vast sums of finance.
Across the 91 cities that make up the C40 network, there are over 3,000 low-carbon infrastructure projects in planning stages, over 700 of which are in the buildings sector alone. At present, cities have costed only a small proportion (around 15%) of these projects, identifying US$15.5 billion in required investment.
— C40 Cities (@c40cities) April 5, 2017
This provides a huge untapped investment opportunity. Recent C40 research, Deadline 2020, has estimated that C40 cities need to spend US$375 billion over the next four years on low carbon infrastructure in order to be on the right trajectory required to meet the ambition of the Paris Agreement. The new C40 and CDP alliance will aim to cost the 85% of sustainable infrastructure projects in the pipeline in order to stimulate investment and uncover the true scale of the opportunity for collaboration between cities and the private sector.
In order to ensure that these investments are sustainable, climate adaptation must be an integral part of the project plans. The continuing challenge for cities and policy makers is how to mobilise climate finance from the private sector for climate adaptation specific infrastructure projects, where the path to returns on investment is less clear.
C40 released two documents detailing their research into the urban infrastructure investment opportunities across their member cities:
- The Low Carbon Investment Landscape in C40 Cities (report)
- Sustainable Infrastructure Pipeline – beta version (spreadsheet)