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Rethinking Cities to Fight the Climate Crisis – POLITICO

This article is part of POLITICO Global Policy Lab: Living Cities, a collaborative journalistic project exploring the future of cities. Sign up here.

According to a, tackling climate change will mean rethinking the design and functioning of cities main report from the UN climate science panel released on Monday.

the The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report was authored by 278 scientists from 65 countries and draws on over 18,000 research papers. It points out that urban areas produced between 68 and 72 percent of combined global carbon dioxide and methane emissions in 2020.

But the researchers argue that meeting the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees – and avoiding catastrophic climate change – will require a change in the way urban areas are “designed, be built and managed”.

The IPCC report urges cities to move away from urban planning trends that fragment cities into residential and commercial districts and rely on polluting habits like car commuting.

“Policies that support a modal shift away from private motor vehicles and towards walking, cycling and low-emission shares or public transport … can bring significant and lower public health benefits [greenhouse gas] emissions,” the authors write.

The results of the assessment give impetus to city leaders pursuing strategies such as the 15 Minute City concept, which aims to transform urban areas so that residents can walk or cycle to work and have access to all services within 15 minutes , that they need. Paris, Barcelonaand Rome are among the European cities committed to this idea.

The report also urged “established cities” like those within the EU to urgently address the challenge of “replacing, repurposing or retrofitting existing buildings,” which UN scientists say is the easiest way to achieve the biggest emissions savings .

Europe’s buildings are currently responsible for approximately 40 percent of the block’s energy use and 36 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions. Over 70 percent of the bloc’s population lives in urban areas.

All cities can contribute to a net-zero future by integrating sectors and policiess and innovations,” said IPCC researcher Siir Kilkis. “Urban areas offer important climate opportunitiese mitigation.”

The IPCC report stressed that making the necessary changes would require greater cooperation between different levels of government, as well as “significant funding” beyond city hall budgets.

The statement echoes a frequent complaint from mayors who say they need broader and more direct access to European funds to implement EU legislation to tackle emissions from buildings.

In a letter to Elisa Ferreira, EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, on Monday, Heidelberg Mayor Eckart Würzner and other members of the Energy Cities network who support the energy transition described local administrations as “firefighters without ladders and lances [with which to face] Energy and social crises.” The letter appeals to the Commission to streamline funding procedures and make more local government projects eligible for EU funding programs.

Separately, city leaders from the Covenant of Mayors wrote to Green Deal boss Frans Timmermans last week, calling for structural measures to “rethink the way our energy is being used” and “our cities and the places where we live”. adapt to climate threats.

Karl Mathiesen contributed reporting to this article.

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