While many national governments have set goals to align with the Paris Agreement, the most aggressive targets have been set by cities, states and regions. And these local authorities are already moving faster, decarbonizing at twice the rate of G20 governments. Cities have authority over land-use zoning, building efficiency, transportation, waste management and water services. They are well-positioned to implement sustainable policies to meet the needs of their region. While more cities are accelerating their strong climate commitments, implementing massive and complex plans is challenging.
Cities large and small face a continual challenge related to rapid growth. Worldwide, urban populations are expected to double by 2030. This growth drives increased demand for jobs, transportation and affordable housing, as well as increased consumption of energy, water and waste. Growth is also costly. Whether dealing with aging pipes and water systems, high-emission fossil fuel plants, landfills that have reached capacity, or outdated transportation infrastructure, cities have no shortage of investments to make, particularly urban design and transportation networks that can handle increased density and enhance efficiency of shared resources. Cities also must be resilient to the physical and socio-economic costs of climate change: flooding, water stress, energy shortages, food shortages, and air quality, to mention a few.
Some of the following actions can help cities address current trends and external pressures while implementing projects and policies that meet the needs of their citizens.
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