Climate change is one of the most dangerous threats ever faced by humankind. Fuelled by two powerful human-Induced forces that have been unleashed by development and manipulation of the environment in the industrial age, the effects of urbanization and climate change are converging in ways which threaten to have unprecedented negative impacts on urban quality of life, and economic and social stability.
Alongside these threats, however, is an equally compelling set of opportunities. The concentration of people, industries and infrastructure, as well as social and cultural activities will make urban areas crucibles of innovation, where strategies can be catalyzed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve coping mechanisms and reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts.
However, successful responses to the challenges of climate change require changes in how urban areas operate. Such responses also demand closer coordination between local governments, civil society, community and private sector stakeholders, while at the same time building new connections between central power structures and marginalized segments of urban populations.
Cities and Climate Change reviews the linkages between urbanization and climate change, and illustrates the significant contribution of urban areas to climate change, while at the same time highlighting the potentially devastating effects of climate change on urban populations. It reviews policy responses, strategies and practices that are emerging in urban areas to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as their potential achievements and constraints. In conclusion, the report argues that urban areas have a pivotal role in both climate change mitigation and adaptation and identifies strategies and approaches for strengthening this role.