A new report by UN-HABITAT says that cities are the biggest cause of pollution of our planet. According to UN-HABITAT's new Global Report on Human Settlements: Cities and Climate Change, rapid urbanisation means that more and more people are living in urban areas, and that they are therefore most vulnerable to the impacts of climate disruption.
The report, prepared for the twenty-third biennial meeting 11-15 April of member states in the Governing Council which oversees UN-HABITAT's work programme and budget, says the real battle against climate change is taking place in our cities.
"Cities are responsible for the majority of our greenhouse gases. But they are also places where the greatest efficiencies can be made," Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, told a news conference in London this week. Stressing the all important urban dimension of climate change, he said: "City authorities have an important level of influence over both greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change."
"This makes it imperative that we understand the form and content of our urbanisation so that we can reduce our footprint and plan more sustainable and more resilient cities in the future. If we ignore this now, hundreds of millions of people will be at risk from the effects of climate change in the future."
But not all is bleak. According to the report, the time to address this is now. Well planned cities with efficient urban transport provision and solid adaptation and mitigation strategies can actually have less impact on climate change and provide clear economic and social opportunities for their inhabitants. To see the report, click here.