air-pollutionNew Climate Economy has released a report finding that if cities cut their fossil fuel emissions, together they could save a grand total of $17 trillion by the year 2050.

The report even indicates that $17tn is a low estimate, and that the true cost savings could be a lot higher. Cities need to concentrate on investments in public transportation and making buildings more energy efficient to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3.7 metric gigatons by 2030.

The savings estimate was made using only the “direct energy savings generated from investment”, according to Nick Godfrey, who heads policy and urban development at New Climate Economy. Reducing fossil fuel emissions would have additional positive economic, environmental and social impacts that could represent even more savings.

It is recommended by the report that these changes are made by 2020. It also suggests that countries introduce policy that incentivizes cities to make these changes by  providing at least $500 million in funding on the national level. International support will be necessary as well to support developing nations who are interested in saving money as well as the environment.

There is now actual evidence that economic develop is no longer mutually exclusive with sustainability, as Seth Schultz explains. He conducts research for the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a collaboration by several major cities that want to find a solution for climate change.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also written that cities are critical to combat climate change.

Since most major cities in the U.S. are found on the coast, it makes sense that they would be concerned about the repercussions of fossil fuel emissions. Increased natural disasters and sea level rise would have devastating effects on the economy as well as the populace of these large communities.

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