Many of us agree on that rapid urbanization increases climate risk and makes huge populations vulnerable to the effects of the climate change. However, instead of considering cities as the root of our problems, we could try to take advantage of the possibilities well managed urbanization has to offer.

In 2018 atmospheric carbon dioxide levels reached their highest in millions of years. According to the data available, in the last 150 years the temperature on earth has increased 0.5 °C and the experts calculate that the average global temperature rises could hit the symbolic 2 °C threshold by 2050. As we are set to go down that road, we will inevitably face enormous environmental consequences, but also economic, social, humanitarian repercussions.

Cities against Climate Change

Since the Paris Agreement became effective in 2016, the city has gained a transcendental importance in the fight against climate change. Both the Urban Agenda for the EU and the New Urban Agenda of Habitat III of the United Nations state that it is time to understand that cities can be a source of solutions to the problems our world faces today, and not its cause. If well planned and well managed, urbanization can be a powerful instrument for achieving sustainable development in developed as well as in developing countries.

Promoting the use of non-polluting energy and the sustainable use of land and resources in urban development, protecting ecosystems and biological diversity, promoting the adoption of healthy lifestyles in harmony with nature, encouraging modes of sustainable consumption and production, strengthening urban resilience, reducing disaster risks, and putting into practice measures to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects are the most recommended urbanization practices.

So, in conclusion, we might say that the right kind of urban planning is not only one of many ways to mitigate climate risks, but a key to reduce climate change. However, we must go for it now, before it’s too late!

Reference: Santiago J. Castellà

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