Why the cities of the future are “cellular”

We are facing a climate emergency. More than 11,000 of the world’s scientists and successive reports issued by the International Governmental Panel on Climate Change say the evidence of human-induced global warming is irrefutable.

However, at precisely the moment we need far-reaching mitigation and adaptation measures, some of the world’s most powerful nations are ignoring the warning signs – like one of the planet’s largest polluters, the United States, which formally announced its withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement this month. Despite steadily rising temperatures, extreme weather and raging fires, some U.S. leaders still insist climate change is a hoax.

As the rest of the world wakes up to the catastrophic implications of climate change, it falls to national, state and especially municipal governments to take practical steps to prepare for the impacts. Conscious that nation states are moving too slowly, growing numbers of cities and companies are busily investing in decarbonization and adaptation measures. Take the case of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, which includes over 10,000 cities from 139 countries. By 2030, the Global Covenant’s participating cities could reduce over 1.3 billion tons of CO2 emissions each year – the equivalent of taking 276 million cars off the road.

But even the greenest cities are facing a grim reality. No matter what national governments and businesses do to reduce carbon emissions, massive climate disruption is unavoidable in the short to medium term. Even in the unlikely event greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to zero by 2030, scorching heat, rising seas and extreme weather events will continue to increase. While firmly committed to decarbonizing, growing numbers of city leaders recognize some climate change is inevitable and they must be prepared to manage it. Some are actively exploring ways to design-in resilience, including redesigning, repurposing and retrofitting the built environment.

The truth is, cities are part of the climate problem as well as the solution. For one, they are prodigious producers of greenhouse gasses – up to 70% of total emissions, by some estimates – and consume more than 80% of all energy resources. But cities are also engines of productivity – generating more than 80% of global GDP – and innovation machines, responsible for producing more than 90% of all patents. Most important, cities concentrate over half of the world’s population – more than four billion people — and this number will nearly double by 2050, causing rising demand for energy, food and water. Flooding, droughts, water scarcity and appalling levels of pollution are already making growing numbers of cities uninhabitable.

Συνέχεια ανάγνωσης εδώ: www.weforum.org

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