A new report has concluded that it is vital that industry improve its energy efficiency if it is to be able to meet predicted environmental and social challenges.
The report, The Role of Industry in Forging Green Cities, published by the Institute for Industrial Productivity, concludes that “the world’s cities are as diverse as the challenges that face them, but the importance of improving energy efficiency in industry is common to many.”
One of the predominant issues is the common method of pushing industry to the fringes of a city, which is also where the urban poor end up. Co-author Jigar V. Shah, Executive Director of the Institute for Industrial Productivity, notes that this method has “come at a high cost,” but adds that “creating sustainable cities will be the key to reversing this trend.
“We will need to develop more sustainable cities – that are compact, connected and well managed – and manage their hunger for energy through industrial energy efficiency processes and technology, and the smart reuse of waste and energy,” Shah said.
As the report itself concludes, “the impact of industrial pollution on the urban poor is not unique to developing countries and has been well-documented in US cities, where industrial facilities releasing toxics into the air, soil, and water tend to be concentrated in areas with higher numbers of low-income and minority residents.”
Furthermore, building green cities that meet the needs of all will require strong leadership by both national and local governments, says co-author Chris Sall.
“With more and more of the world’s population moving to the cities, we can expect a massive strain on cities’ infrastructure and resources,” says Sall. “Smart urban planning, better access to basic services, good leadership, transparent processes, and integrated authority will ensure cities are well-positioned to mobilize greater resources for energy efficiency. Cities should focus on the basics first and lay the groundwork for progressively more ambitious actions.”
Other highlights the Institute for Industrial Productivity wanted to highlight include:
- Industrial energy demand will remain relatively flat in OECD countries and in the transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe, but it will increase dramatically in the emerging economies of Asia, including in China and India, and to a lesser extent in the Middle East and Africa.
- Over the next few decades, industry will remain a vital feature of the global urban economy, providing more than a billion jobs and generating nearly 30 percent of economic output.
- Greenhouse gas emission profiles of cities are varied but confirm the importance of urban industry as an end user of energy and an emitter of carbon in fast-growing regions.