Municipalities, cities and regions should take on an exemplary role within their state, within Europe and beyond. Not by more scenario building or statements about targets, but by shifting their full focus to the execution of climate action.
If emissions from fossil fuels continue unabated as they do now, the world will be burning through its residual carbon budget in the coming decade or so. We will be on course for global temperatures breaking the 1.5C threshold. The consequences of this will be predominantly negative for humanity: coastal cities become uninhabitable; shifts in climate zones will lead to the collapse of ecosystems and their (life-supporting) services; subtropics and tropics will become dangerously hot, resulting in conflicts around food and water — a threat to global governance. Young people will be hit especially hard because there’s a 30–40 year delay between emitting a ton of CO2 and seeing its full effect play out. Besides, going past the 1.5C threshold, we risk triggering tipping points resulting in climate change reinforcing itself.
To avoid this danger and to seize the climate opportunity, we will need to halve CO₂ emissions every decade between now and 2050, while capturing an additional 5Gt of CO₂ each year through reforestation and improved agriculture.
Cities are real leverage points to drive this transition since 70% of the world’s CO₂ emissions originate there. The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic also represents an unprecedented opportunity for modern urban sustainable development. Now is the time for governments to show if they are serious about meeting the Paris Agreement targets, seizing the climate opportunity and starting to rebuild in a sustainable, healthy way.
Read the whole piece over at Viable Cities.
Serge is CEO and co-founder at Futureproofed. He believes that it’s within our power to reverse the climate crisis and build a fossil-free, circular economy. Taking action represents the biggest business opportunity of the century, and action will sort the winners from losers both in business and amongst cities and nations.
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