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. 



Climate Change Impacts Specific to Urban Regions

This chapter discusses climate impacts specific to urban areas. If urban growth and development patterns are contributing to the increase in GHG emissions, urban population and infrastructure are also increasingly at risk to detrimental effects of climate change. The fixed or long term nature of urban infrastructure already in place, and the long lead times for planning new urban infrastructure, renders it complex to address the impacts of rising temperatures and sea levels as well as changing precipitation patterns that climate change will bring, particularly given the uncertainties of local and regional climate predictions. Furthermore, a large share of the world’s urban centres are located in low-lying coastal areas which are particularly vulnerable to storm surge and water-related calamities, increasing the risk to property, livelihoods and urban infrastructure. Although it is well understood that climate change will have impacts on urban infrastructure and populations in developed and developing countries, adaptation policies at the local level have lagged behind mitigation actions.


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