Tianjin rising: China aims to raise its city populations from 54.2 per cent in 2012 to 60 per cent in 2020. Cities account for three-quarters of the world’s energy-related carbon emissions. Image: Amid the barrage of news about climate-related natural disasters and climate change summits, it’s important to recognize real inflection points—when there is truly cause to sit up and take note. The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC , released last month, is a genuine wake up call. We are already at 1º Celsius warming beyond pre-industrial averages. Limiting global warming to 1.5° Celsius (2.7° Fahrenheit)—beyond which scientists expect more significant damage to global ecosystems—requires “rapid and far-reaching transitions” in energy systems, land use, industry and urban infrastructure, concludes the special report . In short, we need to live and build differently. Those of us focused on cities know this is true. The trajectory for major trends needs to change significantly in urban areas to reach the targets agreed to by the world’s governments in the Paris Agreement, Sustainable Development Goals and New Urban Agenda. We need not just nudges and tweaks, but transformation on a massive scale , starting now. The IPCC special report, a […]


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