Friday, May 11, 2012

The Challenge of the Future for the Cities of the World

Planet Under Pressure - A major international conference focusing on solutions to the global sustainability challenge (Mar. 26-29, 2012, London, UK)

Also discussed here: Sustainable Cities: Meeting the Challenge of Rapid Urbanization the Focus of “Planet Under Pressure 2012″ (Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit, Mar. 28, 2012)

And here: Planet under pressure / Navigating the Anthropocene (Susan MacMillan , ILRI news, Mar. 29, 2012)

 And here: Human activities and global environmental change (28 slide PowerPoint show, Diana Liverman, 2012)

The focus today is on a major conference held in London at the end of March 2012 where the topic was the impact humanity is increasingly having on the world’s environment, a process now referred to, in geological terms, as “the Anthropocene”. Urbanization world-wide is expected to grow over the next 20 years to an area greater than Germany, Spain and France combined. How prepared is society for these changes?

 Key Quotes:

“With world population forecast to increase from 7 billion today to more than 9 billion by 2050, humanity’s urban footprint will take up 1.5 million more square kilometers of land by 2030 at current rates.. That translates into an average 1 million more city dwellers every week for the next 38 years”

 “Dense cities designed for efficiency offer one of the most promising paths to sustainability”

“Cities are responsible for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions.. estimated at about 15 billion metric tons in 1990.. growing to 36.5 billion by 2030”

“Focusing on “urban efficiencies,” such as using weather conditions and time of day-adjusted tolls stems to reduce traffic congestion, is essential if the world’s societies are to address climate change”

 “smart buildings, cars, transportation, power, water and waste systems are examples of an emerging “Internet of things..offering a fast-growing number of high-tech, artificially intelligent, Internet-connected cars, appliances, cameras, roadways, pipelines and more”

“‘Within one lifetime, humanity has become the prime driver of change on the planet. We are pushing Earth towards thresholds in the Earth system; we have many solutions but lack the urgency to implement them. We must set the scientific agenda, she says, to set the world on the path of ‘transforming our way of living’ ..and ‘fundamental reform needed to create a genuinely sustainable society”
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