Flash floods, extreme heat, rising sea-levels and buckling infrastructure -- the list of catastrophes caused by climate change reads like the plot of a dystopian sci-fi novel. But these are all present dangers in the latest C40 Cities report.
The C40 (Large Cities Climate Leadership Group) represents cities from Africa, America, Asia, Australia, and Europe working to reduce urban carbon emissions and adapt to climate change. It was founded in 2006 and is working with the William J. Clinton Foundation’s Climate Initiative (established by Bill Clinton).
World leaders met in Rio De Janeiro this week for the Rio+20 Summit (the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development), organizede by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Climate change has the potential to cause unprecedented damage to urban areas -- both in terms of human life and financial capital. What will cities do to cope with rising sea levels, heatwaves, droughts and more frequent and severe storms? How will they protect their populations and economies?
Cities are, in fact, uniquely placed to answer these question. City mayors are often more able than nationally elected politicians to take decisive action on environmental initiatives, making many cities pioneers in adapting to climate change.
CNN teamed up with The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and the Carbon Disclosure Project to show the risks climate change poses to five major global cities and how those cities are trying to protect their booming populations and complex economies from climate disaster.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the Summit with words of warning, “Let us match words with actions. Our scarcest resource is time, and it is running out.”
Can Rio +20 Solve World’s Environmental Problems?
The world’s environment has continue to suffer since the 1992 summit. The World Wildlife Fund’s recent Living Planet report said the ever-swelling global population is still consuming far more than can be replenished, and that the Earth is “going downhill” as consumption rises.
The report said there was a widening and “potentially catastrophic” gap between the ecological footprints of rich and poor antions. Global consumption of natural resources, carbon emissions and poverty have all continued to increase. Scientific research points to a steady rise in world temperature which, if unchecked, is forecast to have catastrophic consequences for the plant.
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