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Cooler cities

The world's cities are responsible for 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, but are also likely to produce many of the solutions to climate change. Many cities have far more ambitious environmental aims than do national governments. But how are they to be met?

By Matthew Lockwood   December 2007

Cities lie at the heart of our climate change dilemmas. Half the world’s population now lives in cities, a figure set to rise to 80 per cent by 2050. Big concentrations of people make vulnerable targets for climate disasters. These will be not only sudden and dramatic (Hurricane Katrina) but also slow and insidious (Shanghai struggling with salination from rising sea levels).

If towns and cities are on the front line of climate change impacts, they are also central to it causes. Cities, after all, are the ultimate “final consumer” of energy, using an estimated 75 per cent of the…

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