Climate projects with additional benefits

Green transition 3 November 2017 Henrik Stener Pedersen

The cost of investing in climate projects is much less than doing nothing. But investments must be made through integrated masterplanning and crosssector innovation.

4 min

It is hard to find a list of global challenges from recognised  organisations, intergovernmental bodies or think tanks where climate change is not in one of the top spots.

As a matter of fact, it is often at the very top. It certainly came first on the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Survey from August 2017, which surveyed more than 25,000 millennials from 181 countries to gauge the priorities, concerns, and attitudes of young people around the world.

2017 was the third consecutive year that climate change was voted the most serious global issue. 

The survey suggests that millennials are concerned not only about climate change in itself but also about the cost of climate mitigation and adaptation. 

And their concern is justified, according to experts. 

In 2015 the insurance market Lloyd’s reported that the share of national GDP at risk from climate change-related incidents exceeds $1.5 trillion in the 301 major cities around the world. The OECD, the Stern Review from the London School of Economics and several other experts have concluded that investing in climate mitigation and adaptation is far cheaper than not investing at all. 

Create more value 

But the investments must be done right: 

Cities, for example, are responsible for 70-75% of global CO2 emissions, and air pollution kills seven million people every year. But climate change and air pollution are not solved separately through silo initiatives. They are solved through urban leadership, integrated masterplanning and cross-sector innovation.

When it comes to both climate mitigation and adaptation, one needs expertise in a variety of disciplines to be able to see and paint the whole picture – and to deliver a 360-degree solution.

When we invest in making our cities resilient to climate change, we must create additional value by, for example, making the local environment more attractive for citizens.

Investments in city infrastructure can become value drivers rather than cost drivers if we take a holistic approach and base investment decisions on thorough analyses of the social and economic impacts.