Climate change and the warming of the planet is more accurate than ever. We hear it each day: we urgently need to reduce carbon emissions.
With cities accountable for over 70% of carbon emissions globally, they have a key role in the climate change solution. Below, we stated 5 important things they could do to quickly cut emissions.
🚘 Focus on transit and transportation
Transit and transportation have a major role in green-gas emissions. Therefore, it's important to regulate them in the cities. Some easy and quick regulations regarding transport in the city:
- Regulated tailpipe emissions
- Limited idling
- Car-free zones
- Eliminating subsidized parking for privately-owned vehicles
- Adding restricted parking availability for businesses
🛣 Create 'go zones'
Cities have a key role in climate solutions because they're also big consumers of energy globally. Because of climate change, survival of cities' centers of commerce, community, innovation, and vitality is at stake. Committing to renewable energy, setting emissions targets and pledging to stick to the Paris climate agreement goals are musts.
A very fast and proven action to cut emissions is to introduce a supply-and-demand payment system for using congested roads. The system was a big success in London, Singapore, Milan, and Stockholm already. In one night, traffic to the city center of Stockholm dropped by 20%.
💼 Take pressure off the central business district
Rethink what and where a central business district is in the 21st century. Places accessible by mass transit (f.e. rail-based (sub)urbanites) have a lower carbon footprint. Tech companies are seeking interesting locations outside traditional business districts, and the technology of mobility is evolving (e-bikes, scooters, zero-emission buses).
Cities could embrace this transformation through zoning, tax, and transportation policies to shift pressure from overcrowded central business districts. That way, interesting and more affordable urban neighbourhoods can be used for working, living and playing.
⚡️ Mandate clean energy
Clean-energy standards are simple legal mandates for a certain share of a city or state’s electricity to come from carbon-free sources by a certain year. It has been shown that a mix of low-carbon power technologies will provide the fastest, cheapest, and most politically likely path to decarbonizing our electricity.
🏗 Require buildings to be carbon-zero
The best meaningful impact can be done by upgrading homes to greater energy efficiency, and enticing residents intro transit or more efficient vehicles. Setting a target for the construction of zero-carbon buildings by a certain date will improve all of this:
- Greater cost-effective urban emissions reductions (buildings)
- Better air quality and occupant experience
- Hedge for developers and owners against rising electricity and prices
- Buildings become new distributed sources of clean energy and storage, necessary to capitalizing on the full societal potential of electric vehicles