Press Release on 10 Climate Smart Cities Programme for Kolkata

Global Impact Programme on Climate Smart Cities to accelerate green growth in Kolkata

The Centre for Low Carbon Futures, in collaboration with Jadavpur University, Kolkata today announced a major research programme for the city of Kolkata that will highlight opportunities for green growth, more efficient use of energy and opportunities to lower carbon emissions. The outputs of the research programme will help to unlock large-scale flows of investment-grade finance into green growth and low carbon development in the Kolkata economy.

A research team from Jadavpur University, Global Change Programme under the guidance of Professor Joyashree Roy, will work with a research team led by Professor Andy Gouldson from the University of Leeds, with inputs from University of York and researchers and project management from the Centre for Low Carbon Futures. They will work with local government and industry with support from the British Deputy High Commission, to develop the social and economic case for large-scale investment in Kolkata’s green growth.

Professor Joyashree Roy announced that Kolkata is the first Asian city to be studied in the ‘10 Climate Smart Cities programme’ developed by the Centre for Low Carbon Futures which will create a global network of cities representing different climates and states of development and reflecting different approaches to green growth and concerns relating to climate change mitigation and adaptation.'

Jon Price, Director of the Centre for Low Carbon Futures explained: "Our global impact programme provides a "city–scale view" that can better inform city authorities how to respond to climate change. We developed the 10 Climate Smart Cities initiative in order to assist cities with the complex task of implementing policies on green growth and climate change at a local level, and to help them unlock the finance required for capital projects. Our programme provides both a detailed assessment of the current trends on energy and resource efficiency, and it provides prioritised actions with a clearly defined business and social case for investment. These results can then assist city authorities to commence actions and utilise the academically robust findings to secure investment for funding capital projects to development banks, national governments and intergovernmental agencies".

He added "cities are especially relevant this week, as the world meets at the annual climate talks in Doha. It’s becoming clearer that cities have more than 50% of the global population, deliver more than 50% of GDP worldwide and are responsible for more than 50% of global GHG emissions - so developing an action plans for cities, rather than continuing to wait for international agreements or for national commitments is becoming more relevant each day".

Kolkata Metropolitan Area was chosen as one of the 10 Climate Smart Cities not only as it is now one of the 10 largest cities in the world, in a country that envisages increasing its energy use many times over in the coming decades, but also because of its vulnerability. With a high population density it is a low lying, coastal city that is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels and storm surges and heat stress. Commenting on the importance of such a study for Kolkata, Professor Andy Gouldson from the University of Leeds who with his team developed the approach being applied said: "A lack of evidence on the best paths to follow and the best options to adopt can slow the speed of the transition to a low carbon, resource efficient economy. Uncertainty on the vast array of pathways and options available can make climate compatible development hard to pursue at the city-scale. Our research will provide the city authorities of Kolkata with an evidence base that can be used to promote green growth and climate compatible development that stimulates the local economy, creates jobs and helps to tackle poverty whilst at the same time slashing energy bills and carbon footprints.

The Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University, Prof. Souvik Bhattacharyya,welcomed the opportunity to work with colleagues from the University of Leeds in the UK through the Centre for Low Carbon Futures. He said "the 10 Climate Smart Cities programme is exactly the type of world-class international research collaboration that can strengthen the contribution of science to policy and make a real difference to our city by identifying routes to green growth."

Supporting the study Sanjay Wadvani OBE, Deputy High Commissioner (Eastern India) said: "The 10 Climate Smart Cities programme is a great initiative by the Centre for Low Carbon Futures, working with UK partners and the Global Change Programme of Jadavpur University. I’m excited that the project – which will be a path-breaking study to help identify policies for low carbon development in Kolkata - will help the relevant authorities attract investment and foster growth in this great city. The British Deputy High Commission fully supports this unique initiative and hopes that, together with other actions being taken in the city, it will help bring about sustainable and equitable growth for the people of Kolkata."

His support was echoed by Mr. Pradeep Dhobale, Executive Director ITC and Chairman Environment Task Force CII (ER)

‘’Following the footsteps of a successful project by BDHC and CII on developing fiscal instruments for climate-friendly industrial development in West Bengal, Odisha and Tamil Nadu, the project on " 10 Climate Smart Cities" could be one of the precursors to meet the emission reduction goals set by Government of India to achieve International GHG reduction targets. Identification of ways to reduce carbon emissions and capacity building of city authorities thereafter will help in making Kolkata a resource efficient, low carbon city in years to come’’

Tried and tested approach

An initial case study in the EU focused on the Leeds City Region, with a population of 3 million and a local GDP of $80m. The study ‘The Economics of Low Carbon Cities’ led by Professor Gouldson of the University of Leeds found that in just four years, cost effective measures can pay for themselves, grow the city economy, create new jobs and help to tackle poverty. An investment of just 1% of GDP every year for ten years in commercially attractive resource efficiency measures would reduce Leeds’ energy bill by 1.6% of GDP. This evidence base is now being used to stimulate major investments and attract investors.

The Kolkata city study will take approximately nine months to complete and aims to report findings in May 2013.


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