Toward Zero-Carbon Urban Transitions with Health, Climate Resilience, and Equity Co-Benefits: Assessing Nexus Linkages

Anu Ramaswami, Bhartendu Pandey, Qingchun Li, Kirti Das, Ajay Nagpure

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Getting to net-zero-carbon cities while advancing well-being (W), health (H), social equity (E), and climate resilience (R) (referred to as the WHER outcomes) is critical for local and global sustainability. However, science is nascent on the linkages between zero-carbon pathways and WHER outcomes. This article presents a transboundary urban metabolism framework, rooted in seven key infrastructure and food provisioning systems, to connect urban decarbonization strategies with WHER outcomes. Applying the framework along with a literature review, we find the evidence for co-beneficial decarbonization to be strong for health; limited for well-being; uncertain for resilience; and requiring intentional design to advance equity, including distributional, procedural, and recognitional aspects. We describe the evidence base, identify key knowledge gaps, and delineate broad parameters of a new urban nexus science to enable zero-carbon urban transitions with WHER co-benefits. We highlight the need for fine-scale data encompassing all seven sectors across scales, along with multiple and multiscale climate risks, accompanied by next-generation multisector, multiscale, multioutcome nexus models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-121
Number of pages41
JournalAnnual Review of Environment and Resources
Volume48
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 13 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science

Keywords

  • SDGs
  • decarbonization
  • equity
  • health
  • resilience
  • sustainable development goals
  • urban metabolism
  • well-being

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