Climate change is a major threat to our planet, but particularly to our cities, in which two thirds of the population is expected to live by 2050. Even as national leaders make the headlines on climate, cities are the places turning big-picture objectives into practical steps forward toward a more sustainable future. In fact, the Trump Administration’s decision in June to withdraw from the Paris Agreement only strengthened the commitment of the world’s biggest cities outside of the United States to lower emissions for a low-carbon future.
This commitment is clear in the new Cities100 report. For the third year in a row, Sustainia, C40, and Realdania have collected the 100 best urban solutions to climate change from cities around the world, and the 2017 edition of Cities100 presents some extraordinary cases of city climate action within the categories of energy, adaptation, transportation, mitigation, and waste. More cities are now acknowledging the social, economic, and environmental benefits of climate action and adaptation. By taking climate action, cities can prepare to diminish future issues associated with climate change, such as overpopulation, air pollution, and extreme weather events, while also saving trillions of dollars on things,such as energy and health.
Rotterdam, Holland is one city taking action against climate change. The city is utilizing rooftops as multifunctional spaces that improve air quality and biodiversity, produce renewable electricity, retain water to prevent flooding, and provide spaces for people to socialize. The city aims to put solar panels on over 100,000 square feet of rooftops, which could generate 1.25 MW of renewable energy, and build another 850,000 square feet of water-resilient roofs, or blue roofs, which can retain over 500,000 gallons of water. With about 5.6 square miles of unused roof space above the city, this is only the beginning.
Hopefully, the United States will adopt similar sustainable practices in the future.