Africa, Asia key to slow climate change – report
Barcelona – The future that fast-growing cities in South Asia and Africa choose – cleaner and safer or dirtier and more dangerous – will be pivotal to efforts to limit global warming to 1.50C, scientists said in a key United Nations report this week.
Iconic metropoles such as New York and London often grab headlines with their plans to cut air pollution, adopt electric transport, design green buildings or protect residents from floods.
But greater efforts are needed to make similar changes in de- veloping-world cities, particularly as many smaller ones lack the knowledge and financial resources to do it, experts said.
“We know that much of urban growth is going to be in these small- and medium-sized cities in the global south,” said William Solecki, an author of the climate science report and professor at Hunter College City University of New York.
However, “these are cities that historically have had limited capacity in governance and finance”, he said.
Around the world, cities consume more than two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for about three-quarters of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the United Nations.
Whether they can cut those emissions swiftly and protect inhabitants against worsening climate impacts, from flooding to heatwaves, will play a huge role in determining whether the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change are met.
But many cities in poorer nations face significant challenges, including large and growing slum populations that lack basic services and are increasingly at risk from climate disasters, experts said. “The report highlights that climate change will impact the most vulnerable, that the capacity to respond will be most limited in those locations and among those peoples,” Solecki said.
The world’s slum population is expected to triple to three billion by 2050, placing a significant proportion of people “beyond the direct reach” of formal policies. – Reuters