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. 



The Urban Policy Package

While the international community has been struggling to agree on climate change targets and co-ordinated approaches to fight global warming, and many national governments have begun to act, a growing number of cities and regions have also taken initiatives to reduce their energy use and GHG emissions and to begin to adapt to climate change. Cities and regions in many OECD countries have key responsibilities in the urban sectors that can provide valuable strategies for fighting and adapting to climate change, including policies that affect transportation and the built environment. With the help of strategic planning tools, policies at the local level can establish complementary policy packages that bring together territorial strategies and sectoral policies. Chapter 4 reviews policy tools to address climate change at the local level in the sectors of land-use zoning, natural resources, transportation, building, waste and water. The question of effective urban policy packages intersects with the concept of urban spatial density, a major driver of CO2 and N2O emissions. This chapter also assesses different characteristics of urban densification policies and their effectiveness in meeting environmental goals whilst ensuring that cities remain attractive in the long term.


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