Various estimates link cities to 70-80 per cent of current carbon emissions, while urban populations are expected to continue growing. We are approaching a world with nine billion inhabitants, and continued rapid urbanization. It is estimated that an additional 1.7 billion people will become urban dwellers in Asia and Africa alone over the next three decades, posing immense challenges to surrounding environments.
Expected city investments =
5 times the global GDP
According to a Booz & Company analysis conducted for WWF, 350 trillion USD – 7 times the current global GDP, will be invested in cities in the coming 30 years. Almost a quarter of those investments will take place in China and India - investments that can either lock billions of people into carbon intensive infrastructures and lifestyles or they can become part of a massive global transition towards a renewable and energy-efficient economy.
Enabling and commercialising climate innovative ideas and products are very important challenges. Stefan Henningsson talks about some crucial steps to realise creative solutions to support a sustainable future.
If the cities of today are the biggest threat to the climate, tomorrow’s cities may well be the solution.
Lasse Gustavsson, Conservation Director, WWF International
Bulk of population growth in small cities
According to Reinventing the City much of the growth in urban populations will not be taking place in the world’s mega-cities, but rather in small and fast-growing cities. These cities will have great opportunities to provide new low-carbon infrastructure, but may also face the challenges of growth with very limited resources.
The three prerequisites for greening urban infrastructure:
Cities must adopt aggressive energy reduction goals and best-practice approaches to urban planning.
Innovative financing strategies are needed to provide $20 trillion to $30 trillion in funding for additional up-front capital costs, with developed nations working together to assist developing nations in their low-carbon urban infrastructure initiatives.
The latest technological advances must be utilized to support and enable the planning, construction, and usage of urban infrastructure in all cities.
Night time view of a street in Shanghai city, China.