June 29, 2022

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Cities driving climate change, but part of the solution -UN report

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Cities are driving the human-caused climate change that threatens the global environment, but also offer hope.

That is the overriding message of a chapter devoted to cities in a major U.N. report on climate change released on Monday, providing city planners around the world guideposts aimed at avoiding climate catastrophe.

“The fact that cities are responsible for more than two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions means that if cities do something, they can solve two-thirds of the problem. So that’s pretty exciting,” said Karen Seto, a professor at Yale University’s School of the Environment and one of two coordinating lead authors of the report’s chapter on cities.

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Many cities around the globe have taken action already. Mexico City has banned plastic bags. Minneapolis, Minnesota, eliminated zoning for single-family homes to promote density. Paris has outlawed diesel cars.

“Every city can do something, and not every city’s going to do the exact same thing,” Seto said. “Not every city needs to look the same. Not every building needs to be a high rise.”

Cities, particularly the small and medium-sized cities of Asia and Africa that will see the most growth this century, offer the opportunity reduce reliance on automobiles, employ environmentally friendly building materials, and capture stormwater runoff, according to the report’s experts.

Cities can become havens of urban forests, street trees and green roofs, which will not only sequester and store carbon but also induce a cooling effect that reduces energy demand and energy use for water treatment, said the report, the latest from the Intergovernmental…

Reuters

2022-04-04 20:33:05

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