The economics of the urban climate change revolution

Take a look around you. With most of us now living in cities, your gaze is most likely met with a sky-scraping skyline, multiple modes of available transport, and plaques proclaiming the energy efficiency ratings of buildings.

London and Kaohsiung residents can commute to work on hydrogen buses. Moscow citizens might notice that the cities' streetlights and traffic signals are using energy-efficient LED technology. Even if you live in Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam, Jakarta or other so-called "developing" cities, you might cross town using Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), see a landfill that is converting its methane to electricity, or live near a building that has recently been retrofitted to make it more energy-efficient.

An urban climate change revolution is happening around us. City governments across the world are responding to the threat of climate change with bold, innovative actions designed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and protect the city and its residents from the risks that climate change presents. It is then perhaps unsurprising that cities are a key focus at the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) currently taking place.

The latest research from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) analyzing the climate change strategies and carbon emissions of 73 cities around the world shows that 70 percent are already acting to better manage their climate change impact by measuring their city's GHG emissions and assessments of climate change risk. These cities are also responsible for 630 emissions reduction activities, ranging from tree planting to retrofitting buildings to make them more energy friendly.

Next page: Making money from climate change