Cities have become a hotbed of climate action. Responsible for the majority of the world’s population, economic output, and greenhouse gas emissions—they have become indispensable components of any serious plan to combat climate change. While national leaders are still navigating international climate treaties and commitments, mayors and city leaders have already sprung into action.
While there are limits to what can be done by cities, mayors enjoy certain advantages that strengthen their position. Moving quickly, developing local action plans, and tailoring solutions to their community, all situate city leaders as responsive and effective climate advocates. As such, mayors have begun to focus on three key areas:
- Buildings: Cities should implement codes to increase efficiency, set higher standards for new construction, and incentivize net-zero energy buildings do decrease their carbon footprint.
- Transportation: Greater mass transportation infrastructure opens options for residents. Busses, subways, bike lanes, and bike share programs help to clean up cities and decrease emissions.
- Energy: Decreasing energy use, increased efficiency, and a shift to renewables will drive down emissions and the electricity bills of residents.
Implementing these climate solutions also empower communities. Low carbon cities tend to have increased health and wellbeing, better public transportation systems, and greater access to green spaces. Climate solutions are a win for the environment and a win for communities and their residents. To see how your city can become a climate leader, join with other members and engage your community by visiting the Path to Positive Communities.
Considering the magnitude of the climate change issue, commitments at the national scale are necessary if the world is to feel any sort of emissions reduction impact. That said, an efficient and effective way to meet these commitments comes from the actions of much smaller jurisdictions – the cities within a nation.
There are countless reasons why cities should act on climate change, first and foremost being that they are disproportionately more vulnerable to its effects. Ninety per cent of cities are located in coastal regions, making them prone to stronger off-shore storms and rising sea levels.
Stay connected and get updates from Path to Positive.Subscribe