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. 



Economic Benefits of Climate Action: The Urban Dimension

This chapter examines the benefits of implementing urban policies to tackle climate change. Findings from a computable general equilibrium model (IMACLIM-R) that incorporates an urban module and data from the OECD Metropolitan Database demonstrate that the traditionally perceived trade-off between economic growth and achieving mitigation objectives (observed at a macroeconomic level) can be alleviated when urban policies are introduced. Under a policy scenario where national emission reduction strategies are implemented, aggregate mitigation costs can be reduced if economy-wide environmental policies are complemented by urban policies, such as congestion charges or increasing spatial density. This is due to complementarities with other policy objectives, such as lower local pollution and health benefits, and enhancement of city attractiveness and competitiveness through lower local pollution levels. The chapter also discusses other types of local benefits of climate change policies, including quality of life, increased efficiency, energy security, and infrastructure improvements.


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