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Urban centres have become the real battle-ground in the fight against climate change and cities will neglect their role in responding to this crisis at their peril. Not just their own peril but that of the world. This is the tough and urgent message of UN-HABITAT's new "Cities and Climate Change: Global Report on Human settlements 2011."
According to the report, the world's cities are responsible for up to 70 per cent of harmful greenhouse gases while occupying just 2 per cent of its land. What goes on in cities, and how they manage their impact on the environment, lies at the core of the problem. It is the combination of urbanization's fast pace and the demand for development that poses the major threat.
"Cities are responsible for the majority of our harmful greenhouse gases. But they are also places where the greatest efficiencies can be made. This makes it imperative that we understand the form and content of urbanization so that we can reduce our footprint," said Joan Clos Executive Director of UN-HABITAT. "Understanding the contribution of cities to climate change will help us intervene at the local level. With better urban planning and greater citizen participation we can make our hot cities cool again."...