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Cities and Climate Change

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Climate change is a global phenomenon. Rising global temperatures will cause sea levels to rise, increase the number of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and storms, and will cause the spread of diseases. All these will have costly impacts on cities' basic services, infrastructure, housing, human livelihoods and health.

However, cities are also a key contributor to climate change, as city activities are the main source for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Only with a coordinated approach and actions at the global, regional, national and local levels can success be achieved. It is essential, therefore, to make cities an integral part of the solution in the fight against climate change. Many cities are already doing a lot by using renewable energy sources, cleaner production techniques and regulations to control industrial emissions. Energy-efficient housing, measures to reduce traffic and vehicle emissions and to promote non-motorized transport, contribute directly to the reduction of CO 2 . Cutting emissions will also reduce local pollution from industries and transport, thus improving urban air quality and the health of city dwellers.

UNEP and UN-HABITAT have produced a brochure entitled "Climate Change. The Role of Cities", where local governments can find useful information on global initiatives and the support mechanisms available for cities in the fight against climate change. To read the brochure click here>>

UNEP has launched a Campaign on Cities and Climate Change to engage cities in the global climate debate and assist them in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In cooperation with partners, UNEP assists national and local governments by providing awareness raising material, organizing workshops and trainings, developing tools and involving cities in international meetings on climate change. Activities under the campaign include:

  • The 4th Municipal Leaders Summit on Climate Change organized by ICLEI and partners and held during the 11th Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Climate Change (Montreal, December 2005)
  • UNEP and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability organised the first-ever African Cities Symposium on Climate Change (Nairobi, 20 September 2006).
  • ICLEI, UNEP and UN-HABITAT facilitated the participation of the Deputy Mayor of London, Ms. Nicki Gavron, at the 12th Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Climate Change. She delivered a statement on behalf of local governments during the high-level session of the conference (Nairobi, November 2006).
  • UNEP and ICLEI are developing city twinning projects through which developed cities will support climate-related initiatives in developing cities. UNEP and ICLEI will cooperate with the Clinton Climate Initiative in the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group to assist the 24 of the largest cities in the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy efficiency by using the same business-oriented approach
  • UNEP, FIA Foundation Promote Safer, More Environmentally Friendly Roads
  • UNEP supports safe, eco-friendly road infrastructure in Africa
  • To read more about UNEP's climate change activities click here >>

    Other useful links:
    Local Government Climate Sessions - parallel event to the 2007 United Nations Climate Conference
    UNEP-International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC)
    ICLEI's Cities for Climate Protection TM (CCP) Campaign
    EST goes EAST Clearing House - promoting Environmentally Sustainable Transport in Central & Eastern Europe
    Initiative on Road Design and Finance for Safety, Sustainability, and Accessibility


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