A new report warns that climate change may disproportionally affect people living in dense population centers and few cities are taking proper precautions to protect the vitality of their residents.
The world is currently undergoing the largest wave of urban growth in history. According to the United Nations Population Fund, since 1950 the number of people living in cities has quadrupled. In 2008, for the first time in history, more people were living in towns and cities. By 2030, an estimated 5 billion people will be living in cities, with the most concentrated urban growth coming from Asia and Africa.
“Climate change is a deeply local issue and poses profound threats to the growing cities of the world,” says Dr. Patricia Romero Lankao of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. She warns that people living in dense population centers are at increased risk from natural disasters, rising air pollution and water contamination; all of which may become worse as a result of the changing global climate.
“Cities can have an enormous influence on emissions by focusing on mass transit systems and energy efficient structures,” she said, noting that many recent metropolitan initiatives to reduce emissions have the twin benefit of cutting down on urban traffic. London has embarked on a Congestion Charging Zone and developing regions in Brazil and Columbia are now integrating development with public transportation systems. Read more…