How Cities Can Curb Climate Change and Protect Vulnerable Residents

A new U.N. report urges cities to upgrade their infrastructure to bolster climate resilience and build more sustainable, climate-friendly places.

2 minute read

March 3, 2022, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Washington D.C. Protest

Nicole Glass Photography / Shutterstock

In a piece on Wired, Matt Simon highlights the role of cities in the fight against climate change as laid out in a recent U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

The report presents opportunities along with challenges, notes coauthor William Solecki, of the City University of New York’s Hunter College, adding, "We recognize the world is very rapidly urbanizing—up to 70 percent of the world's population by 2050 will live in cities."

While urban agglomerations can lead to more deadly disasters that affect more people at once, "the good news is that cities could be designed so much better than they are now." In fact, "There's really opportunities to upgrade our infrastructure in a way that both addresses long-standing inequities and also invests in climate resilience," according to Rachel Cleetus, policy director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists and a report coauthor.

As Simon notes, the report recommends what it calls 'climate resilient development,' a set of processes that "link scientific, Indigenous, local, practitioner and other forms of knowledge" and "are more effective and sustainable because they are locally appropriate and lead to more legitimate, relevant and effective actions."

The report highlights the importance of local buy-in and combining strategies that adapt cities to the inevitable effects of climate change with policies that reduce emissions to slow future damage and protect vulnerable communities.

Monday, February 28, 2022 in Wired

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