Cities are part of the climate change problem, but they are also a key part of the solution, according to this report, which offers a comprehensive analysis of how cities and metropolitan regions can change the way we think about responding to climate change.
Cities consume the vast majority of global energy and are therefore major contributors of greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the exposed infrastructure and prevalent coastal location of many cities makes them common targets for climate change impacts such as sea level rise and fiercer storms. This report illustrates how local involvement through “climate-conscious” urban planning and management can help achieve national climate goals and minimise tradeoffs between environmental and economic priorities.
Six main chapters analyse the link between urbanisation, energy use and CO2 emissions; assess the potential contribution of local policies in reducing global energy demand and the trade-offs between economic and environmental objectives at the local scale; discuss complementary and mutually reinforcing policies such as the combination of compact growth policies with those that improve mass transit linkages; and evaluate a number of tools, including the “greening” of existing fiscal policies, financing arrangements to combat climate change at the local level, and green innovation and jobs programmes.
One of the main messages of this report is that urban policies (e.g. densification or congestion charges) can complement global climate policies (e.g. a carbon tax) by reducing global energy demand, CO2 emissions and the overall abatement costs of reducing carbon emissions. To inform the groundswell of local climate change action planning, the report highlights best practices principally from OECD member countries but also from certain non-member countries.