Cities and Climate Change

image of Cities and Climate Change

As the hubs of economic activity, cities drive the vast majority of the world’s energy use and are major contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions. Because they are home to major infrastructure and highly concentrated populations, cities are also vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels, warmer temperatures and fiercer storms. At the same time, better urban planning and policies can reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and improve the resilience of urban infrastructure to climate change, thus shaping future trends.  

This book shows how city and metropolitan regional governments working in tandem with national governments can change the way we think about responding to climate change. The chapters analyse: trends in urbanisation, economic growth, energy use and climate change; the economic benefits of climate action; the role of urban policies in reducing energy demand, improving resilience to climate change and complementing global climate policies; frameworks for multilevel governance of climate change including engagement with relevant stakeholders; and the contribution of cities to “green growth”, including the “greening” of fiscal policies, innovation and jobs. The book also explores policy tools and best practices from both OECD and some non-member countries.  

Cities and Climate Change reveals the importance of addressing climate change across all levels of government. Local involvement through “climate-conscious” urban planning and management can help achieve national climate goals and minimise tradeoffs between environmental and economic priorities at local levels. The book will be relevant to policy makers, researchers, and others with an interest in learning more about urbanisation and climate change policy. 



Building Institutions to Enhance Local Knowledge and Strengthen Action

Looking ahead, new or reformed institutions are needed to enable national governments to facilitate capacity building and decision-making on climate change at the local level. Chapter 10 reviews key institutional priorities for greater engagement of local decision makers, the private sector and civil society stakeholders in developing local knowledge to address climate change. City authorities are in a unique position to effectively engage local stakeholders and to design and implement locally tailored responses to climate change. Key institutional shifts could include the development of a number of tools to support local decision-making. These could include standardised greenhouse gas emission inventory and reporting protocols to allow cities to monitor progress in reducing emissions in a way that is harmonised and comparable with other cities and national approaches. This is an important first step to enable cities to better access and participate in international carbon markets and to raise the visibility and credibility of urban mitigation efforts at national and international levels. In addition, regional science and policy networks can be strengthened to allow for expert climate information and local knowledge to combine to better understand how climate change will affect local areas as well as local opportunities for mitigation. Finally, strengthening urban climate policy networks may be a means to provide a forum for information exchange among city practitioners and other stakeholders, and to establish a common understanding about targets, implementation strategies and monitoring.


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