Key messages

Cities are the new hot spots
  •  Cities are the new hot spots of global environmental change. They are the leading growth centres of population, consumption, resource use and waste.
  •  In cities, everything is closely connected. So problems tend to multiply – and so can solutions. Cities can exploit positive synergies, or struggle with negative ones.

Cities have abundant opportunities
  • Cities have massive leverage over their ecological footprints. Their choices on energy, transport, or building standards, for example, affect huge numbers of users.
  • Cities have major impacts on biodiversity via habitat loss, pollution, contribution to climate change, over-exploitation of species' populations, and introduction of invasive species.
  • Cities can improve quality of life while cutting environmental impact. Cities have the option of making smarter choices for housing, transport, energy, green space, water, and waste.
  • Cities must lead the clean energy revolution to combat climate change by supporting renewables, efficiency, smart metering, and green retrofits.

Good stewardship rewards itself
  • Well-governed and well-designed cities are more sustainable along every dimension, through win-win-win synergies.
  • Cities can and must be the centres of change. Cities have huge capacities for learning and innovation – and competitive pressures to do so.

Cities need urgent focus
  • The majority of future growth in urban populations will take place in small and fast-growing cities, not mega-cities. Diffusing good practices to the huge number of these fast-growing cities is decisive.

Early innovators can produce a “snowball effect”

Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century

 / ©: Edward Parker / WWF-Canon
© Edward Parker / WWF-Canon
 / ©: WWF
© WWF
 / ©: WWF
© WWF
The Earth Hour City Challenge aims to identify and reward cities leading the global transition toward a climate friendly, one planet future.

Join WWF

Please join the global effort to protect nature. Visit WWF to get more information. Become a WWF supporter by contacting your national WWF office.
  •  / ©: © NASA & Michael Buckley / WWF-Canada
    Read the Urban solutions summary 

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required