July 9, 2020

The cities most vulnerable to climate change

There are no metropolises on the planet that stop attracting new citizens. The United Nations expects 66% of humanity to live in cities by 2050. Urban planners and climate activists agree that overpopulation will define the quality of life of urban centers.

Politicians should ensure the rights of citizens and the environment by applying plans to address problems of mobility, pollution or lack of resources. Promoting the interest of world leaders and the population in addressing the challenges of local administrations was the last-day objective of COP25, which yesterday dealt with sustainable cities.

The objective? On the one hand, interconnect administrations to replicate and exchange success models. On the other, remind states, communities and municipalities that they are obliged to ensure that urban centers are governed properly. It is not a simple task. Cities consume two thirds of the world's energy supply and are responsible for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions. This produces that more than 80% of the people who live in the cities are exposed to pollution levels far superior to those marked as bearers by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Ana de la Cueva, Secretary of State for Economics during COP25 described our country as "especially vulnerable to climate change" and referred to the problems that affect our regions: "Demographic decline in rural areas, heat waves, torrential rains , floods … ». «The time to act against climate change is absolutely unplayable. The fundamental thing is that where 80% of the population lives, we exercise a strong mandate. For me, the important thing is to act together, not only in a district like Central Madrid. Madrid 360 acts on the entire perimeter of the city, ”explained José Luis Martínez-Almeida, mayor of Madrid.

Some of the solutions that can be applied, according to De la Cueva, are: «Improving city planning, reducing the environmental impact per capita of their populations, increasing green areas, efficient use of resources and intensifying efforts to safeguard the cultural and natural heritage ». These types of plans "can solve 70% of the problems that the climate crisis brings," said Christophe Nuttall, executive director of Regions of Climate Action (R20).

Another problem of overpopulation is feeding it. How is a growing supply need integrated with the conservation of natural resources? "Choosing between increasing agricultural land and making more efficient crops is not easy" for Carlos Mesa, former president of Bolivia.

But the "most serious" factor of population growth in cities is "air quality," says Xavier Querol, a CSIC researcher. «70% of the pollution comes from road transport. Even electric cars emit, although less than gasoline and diesel. Metropolitan public transport needs to increase, ”he claimed.

Cities "are the great opportunity for the real fight against climate change," said Domingo Contreras, representative of the Dominican Republic. "Without their cooperation, no progress can be made effectively."

. (tagsToTranslate) Environment (t) Society

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