Magazines - 07/October/2019

FORESIGHT Climate & Energy Autumn/Winter 2019

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Why cities hold the key to a successful energy transition

Utopian thinking in an age of dystopian headlines

Cities are significant consumers of energy and big emitters of greenhouse gases, responsible for global warming and dangerously poor air quality. By the end of the century, few cities will be safe from the risks of deadly heatwaves, flooding and overcrowding. But while dystopia may not seem too far away, there is an alternative, more utopian scenario that increasingly seems possible as cities the world over position themselves as energy transition leaders with or without national support.

How cities will fund their clean energy transition needs sorting out, given that most taxes and other revenue sources generally go into the national coffers. Many cities are getting creative on climate financing. Best practice needs identifying and repeating elsewhere. All residents, including the poorest and most vulnerable, have to be involved in projects and decisions related to ditching fossil fuels in favour of renewables and greater efficiency. Research and experience both demonstrate how inclusive measures and actions help accelerate the energy transition and climate action in cities.

Cities hold the key to a successful clean energy transformation. Striving for utopia, rather than allowing urban living to become synonymous with dystopia, is a big step to avoiding climate catastrophe. It will also improve the overall resilience and health of cities and their inhabitants.
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