WASHINGTON — Home to more than half the world’s population and responsible for 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, cities are at the heart of the climate challenge and can address it by adding up their policy options, a new World Bank study says.
Between 1970 and 2021, the number of people living in cities increased from 1.19 billion to 4.46 billion, and Earth’s surface temperature rose 1.19 °C above pre-industrial levels, reports “Thriving: Making Cities Are Green, Resilient and inclusive” recalls. A changing climate”.
Because of the prosperity they have helped generate, cities have been one of the main causes of climate change. However, it is confirmed that it is also in them that many solutions to the climate crisis will be found, especially since by 2050 they will be home to almost 70% of the world’s population.
To achieve greater impact, information policies for citizens – including laws and ordinances – for incentives, insurance, community integration and investment must be planned, combined and sequenced.
“Today’s investment in making cities resilient and inclusive will determine whether most people will be able to access basic services, find work and live in dignity,” said Axel van Trotsenberg, Senior Managing Director, Development Policy and Partnerships, World Bank ” ,
The study, drawing on data from more than 10,000 cities around the world, highlights their role in creating more prosperous, healthier and safer lives for people and reversing the negative effects of climate change on food, water and biodiversity.
It also explores how cities contribute to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions, and how urban households will be affected by the increasing frequency and intensity of weather events such as droughts, floods and cyclones.
The report highlights that cities in low-income countries contribute only 14% of all global urban carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, putting cities in low- and lower-middle-income countries at a higher risk of climate change. The biggest threats will have to be faced.
“Without innovation and investment in the greening of these cities, global greenhouse gas emissions will remain above the level needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C”, a target taken by almost all countries in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
According to the study, even if high-income and upper-middle-income countries make a successful transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, this target will not be met.
The report stresses the urgent need for cities to adopt integrated green urban planning strategies that address interconnected challenges, including investment in green space and sustainable infrastructure.
The anticipated addition of 2.5 billion urban residents by 2050 will put further pressure on water resources and urban infrastructure, making the protection and restoration of ecosystems, such as forests, an important component of urban resilience and water security, it was indicated.
In sub-Saharan Africa alone, the region’s urban population is projected to grow by 950 million to reach 1.26 billion by 2050.
“Choosing a different development path, involving more compact and connected urban development rather than the current fragmented, disconnected and dispersed patterns of urbanization in low-income countries, is essential for both climate and poverty reduction,” the report said. Is.”
Remember that low-income cities are already experiencing increased risk of flooding, heat stress, tropical cyclones, sea level rise, water stress and wildfire,” and the projected risk for 2030-2040 would be much higher than in cities in high-income countries.” ,
Insurance is therefore included in the Bank’s analysis, as it can reduce the financial impact of disasters, complementing adaptation strategies.
Low-income cities are less resilient to shocks, experience more severe economic shocks, and in many cases also absorb an influx of residents fleeing extreme weather in rural areas.
High poverty and a lack of inclusion contribute to this vulnerability, along with low levels of access to basic services such as health, education and water.
Furthermore, when cities expand rapidly to receive climate and other refugees, new settlements are often informal and established on the outskirts of cities with limited access to services.
For this reason, it is emphasized that integration within cities can help reduce unnecessary sprawl, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and bring people closer to jobs and opportunities.