Cities Will Save Us

The failures of climate conferences such as Copenhagen 2009 are said to be fatal.  However failure at the state level does not necessarily mean we are all going to soon have water up to our necks.  Mayors and not presidents, prime ministers or parliaments, set some of the most ambitious climate goals.  50% now live in cities; by 2030 it will be 61%.  Climate change can be won in the streets of our cities.

The City is historically seen negatively compared to rural areas and that is still true today.  However city living is green living; you use less space, you use public transport, you travel less, and you are near to where products are delivered.

The city is already proving how we can break the mould of eco destruction.  By developing our cities with green technology, entwined in every building we begin to unleash some of the strongest CO2 saving possibilities:  buildings that are designed to cool themselves, skyscrapers that are both power plants and farms.  Just some of the few ideas that may seem currently a bit science fiction, but will become the reality as increasing pressure on a vital resource grows, soil.

The amount of land that it takes to support a human being needs to decrease.  The population continues to grow dramatically and the soil cannot take it.  Soil erosion, desertification, urbanisation, and salt intrusion are destroying our most crucial resource.  Cities offer the opportunity to turn around this trend.  When there is no space, the only way is up.  That skyscrapers almost only exist in city centres proves this.  By adapting our buildings to be self-sustainable we can retreat from the battle with nature.

Cities provide an amazing innovative environment.  Humans are naturally innovative and when you pack them together you get an explosive outburst of culture, ideas and wealth.  The most creative, exciting and innovative places are all cities.  The coolness of Tokyo, London, New York, Paris and Berlin all show this.  Maybe it is also this powerful creativity that has meant that some mayors have signed up to very ambitious climate goals.

London will reduce its CO2 by 10% in 2010 and by 60% by 2025.  The UK goal is 60%, but 25 years later.  New York 30 % by 2030, Los Angeles 35% by 2030, USA er yeah,  there is no fixed goal.  Tokyo 25% reduction from 2000 by 2020, Japan a 25% cut from 1990 levels.  Copenhagen wants a cut of 20 percent from the 2005 level by the year 2015 and also wants to become the first carbon neutral capital city by 2025.  The first large country that wants to be carbon neutral is Sweden by 2050.

The cuts by Mayors are deeper and in some cases much deeper than at national level.    Many cities have already pledged far beyond, what science says is necessary to avoid runaway climate change.  The State will eventually follow the progressive city.  Therefore the movement nto the eco correct era has already begun.

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