Climate Change and Cities

The majority of the world population currently lives in cities (more than 50%). Cities are where the majority of commercial and industrial activity occurs and they offer the opportunity to create wealth and wellbeing for a global society. Equally, they are centres that require vast quantities of resources, and that consequently contribute significantly to climate change, producing between 60 and 80% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and generating great pressure on the environment.

The impacts of climate change are also threatening the way of life of the citizens of the world with increasing frequency and intensity. However, cities can play an important role in solving many worldwide problems, for example by improving energy efficiency in the transport and construction sectors, as well as in water supply systems and solid waste disposal.

Cities should orientate their growth towards low carbon and climate resilient development.

cambio climatico

Cities face three key challenges
around climate change:

  • Mitigation

  • Cities must implement GHG emissions reduction projects to reduce their contribution to climate change, but above all to become more efficient cities with a better quality of life for their inhabitants. Orienting towards development with low carbon emissions is a matter of competitiveness, growth and public health.

  • Adaptation

  • The challenge of adapting to climate change in cities requires mechanisms for collaboration and coordination between sectors. Cities can integrate resilience development into programmes they are already implementing, for example around integrated water management.

  • Funding

  • The role that cities play with respect to international agreements and climate finance in the urban context is important, especially when developing their development strategies in relation to climate change mitigation and adaptation.