Climate Risks That Result from Rapid Urbanization

Climate Risks That Result from Rapid Urbanization

Typically, when we mention climate change or global warming we usually think about melting glaciers or polar bears in trouble. However, the area where we should focus our attention is big cities or urban areas. Most of the population lives in the cities, and cities are the top emitters of potent greenhouse gases. This means that the cities are the main contributors to climate change, and when natural catastrophes happen, like floods, storms, heatwaves, drought, etc. cities are hit the hardest, especially low-income areas and slums. Let’s go over the effect that urbanization has on climate change and methods that some cities have implemented to combat these negative side-effects.

Increased urbanization   

More and more people are migrating to the cities, and that means more cars, more energy demand, increased industrial processes, etc. In other words, greenhouse gas emission is only going to increase, which can have a catastrophic effect. With densely populated areas being subject to natural disasters, we will only see a rise in casualties, infrastructural loss, and economic disruption. So, it is important to take action and mitigate these risks. Luckily some cities take climate change seriously and are actively working on the solutions. 

Why are cities taking action?

First of all, some cities have a higher population than others and are more prone to experiencing climate change side-effects. In other words, it is not a state crisis, it is something that city officials need to handle locally. 

Leaders with a high sense of climate change awareness are typically the ones who step up first and are willing to invest in the solutions. Meaning, cities that are not on the front line of climate change impact are generally less proactive in this area. Another reason is that eco-friendly places just offer better living conditions and as such more potential for prosperity. So, city officials are attempting to capitalize on this opportunity as it will likely draw more investors, tourists, businesses, etc.     

What are the solutions?  

Generally speaking, the goal is to decarbonize the cities or reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses as much as possible. This is achieved using various methods, and depending on geographic locations and main emitters in the city, the implementation strategy varies. 

Cities opt for investing in renewable energy sources or making households more energy-friendly by incentivizing efficient light bulbs, heating systems, and cooling systems. 

Waste management and recycling are also a great way to combat carbon emission. In order for these methods to be successful, the public must be willing to alter its behavior. So investing in education and raising awareness is another important step. 

For the majority of cities transportation presents the main source of gas emissions, so investing in new public transportation systems can help out immensely. The idea is to make cities more pedestrian-friendly, and create bike lanes in order to make people get out of cars and stop relying on them so much.