WORLD

Guterres highlights the ‘huge’ benefits of green cities – a global issue


In his message on the occasion of World Habitat Day on Monday, Antonio Guterres said, “The city’s leadership is essential in achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 by using green materials and building energy-efficient, resilient buildings powered by renewable energy.”

The theme of this year’s celebration of cities and towns around the world is to accelerate urban action for a carbon-free world.

Cities account for about 75 percent of the world’s energy consumption and 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Two crises

Urban areas around the world are facing a dual crisis of Kovid-1 and climate change, the UN chief said.

Today, about 5.5 billion people live in cities, but by 2050 that population is projected to grow by about 50 percent. In the middle of the century, 1. More than a billion urban dwellers may have to survive an average summer temperature of 5 degrees Celsius.

Mr. For Guterres, cities and towns are within 1.5 degree targets of the core of climate activity.

“Three-quarters of the infrastructure that will be in place by 2050 has not yet been built,” he said. “The economic recovery plan provides a generational opportunity to put climate action, renewable energy and sustainable development at the center of the city’s strategy and policy.”

As the population grows in emerging economies, the demand for transportation, which accounts for about 20 percent of global carbon emissions, is also increasing.

The UN chief said cities were already working on the issue, trying to meet the demand by zero-emission vehicles and public transport.

Mr Guterres called for a global moratorium on internal combustion engines, saying the latest should be by 2040.

Opportunity

UN-Habitat Executive Director Maymuna Mohamed Sharif said in a message for the day that unless the world takes urgent action, “greenhouse gases produced by always expanding urban centers will further increase global air temperature.”

Ms. Sharif recalled that this year, the day was celebrated in Glasgow in early November, just weeks before the UN Climate Change Summit, COP26.

For the UN-Habitat chief, recovery from the Kovid-1 pandemic epidemic is an opportunity for cities around the world to put climate action at the top of their agenda.

“It’s an opportunity to generate our electricity, build our buildings, heat, cool and illuminate our offices and homes and move from home to work,” he said.

Mrs Sharif wanted a “well-planned and well-managed compact city” that would allow non-motorized transport and reduce energy costs from cooling and heating.

“Cities are incubators of innovation and new technology,” he said. “We must harness this energy to better address climate change.”

For Mrs. Sharif, “there will be a difference of action from city to city”, but “the green transformation will certainly benefit everyone, especially the most vulnerable and create new jobs.”

Activities

This year’s events will explore how governments and organizations can work together with communities, academic institutions and the private sector to build sustainable, carbon-neutral, inclusive cities and towns.

World Habitat Day will further enhance the Race to Zero campaign and encourage local governments to create zero-carbon plans running up to COP26.

This Monday, at an event in Yaounde, Cameroon, the winners of the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honor Award will also be presented, one of the most prestigious awards in the world for those working in sustainable urbanization.

This year, five winners: Egypt’s new urban community authority; Bright hopes for the community from Kenya; From Baoji City, China; Let’s do it from the world, Estonia; And Ciudad Emergente, from Chile.



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