Durban talks should look to Leeds for inspiration

COP17's climate change talks should look to the English city of Leeds for inspiration, according to academic research.

Leeds town hall

Leeds town hall

Results from research carried out by the University of Leeds focuses on the importance of decarbonising cities as part of a strategy to tackle global climate change.

The work, released at Durban last night (November 29), claims investments of 2% of city scale GDP each year for 10 years in low carbon options could create savings of 2.2% of GDP every 12 months.

Furthermore, every £1bn of investment in low carbon options could generate £220m of energy cost savings each year - through reduced energy bills for households, firms and the public sector - repaying the investment in just over four years.

However, while the evidence is there the method could not work without political and social commitment.

The research, commissioned by the Centre for Low Carbon Futures (CLCF) and conducted by professor Andy Gouldson at the University of Leeds, looked at an 18 month period.

Professor Gouldson and his research team created a 'city-scale mini Stern review' to evaluate the cost and carbon effectiveness of a wide range of low carbon options that could be applied to households, industry, commerce and transport at the city scale.

He said: "This research demonstrates investing in low carbon measures is not only cost effective but also can result in a commercially attractive return on investment.

"More importantly, it can deliver numerous benefits for the huge number of people around the world who live in cities.

"It won't be possible with financial capital alone; we need political and social buy-in to make it happen."

Luke Walsh


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