Sustainability Reads: September 7- September 13

Climate-smart cities could save the world $22tn, say economists
A new report shows that expanding public transit, energy-saving buildings, and better waste management in cities could save an estimated $22 trillion by 2050. By 2030, these “smart growth” policies could avoid 3.7 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year, which is more than India’s annual GHGs. This report by the Global Commission on Economy and Climate provides the quantitative evidence and calls on the world’s leading cities to  commit to low carbon development strategies. The prompt for cities is vital since commitments submitted by various countries for a Paris 2015 climate deal fall far short of limiting warming to 2*C. Low carbon development strategies outlined by the report could bridge this gap by 20%.  By Suzanne Goldenberg at the Guardian

As an old embargo lifts, a new vacation spot emerges—but can Cuba’s ecosystems weather a flood of Americans?
Although Havana’s streets and bays have trash and pollution, Cuba’s natural environment is doing very well compared to neighboring islands. This is especially true when it comes to coral reefs: Cuba’s are still healthy while 53% of Puerto Rico’s and 60% of the Virgin Islands’ coral reefs died as of 2007. Cuba aka “the Accidental Eden” has healthy coral reefs and increasing tree cover thanks to the 50 year embargo by the United States and policies put in place over the years. But things may be changing due to the shift in US-Cuba relations. The threat of large beach-front resorts is real, but simply the increase in the number of people visiting the island will have an impact.  Even with all the right policies in place, as is true around the world, monitoring and enforcement is the most difficult and most crucial factor for success. We hope Cuba can be an example of sustainable tourism for other islands. By Doug Struck at OnEarth.

In corporate social responsibility news, an interesting public-private partnership seems to be taking off between Subaru and the National Parks in the US. Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) has a zero landfill waste assembly plant and is using its waste reduction and diversion expertise to support a zero landfill initiative to be piloted at the Yosemite, Grand Teton, and Denali National Parks. By Caelus Green Room.

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