Metropolitan areas decide on climate success

Report on the state of the world 2007 presented

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Whether the consequences of the climate catastrophe and global change can be averted depends above all on developments in the growing urban agglomerations in the world. This is the conclusion of the current "World of the World Report 2007" by the Washington Worldwatch Institute.

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The German edition of the "Report on the World of the World 2007" was presented yesterday in Berlin. The report analyzes the global trend towards urbanization and its effects on the environment, the economy, society and politics. In individual case studies from all continents, he presents local solutions for global challenges such as climate change, energy policy and poverty reduction. The publishers of the German edition are the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Germanwatch.

Urbanization as a chance and a risk at the same time

The unrestrained trend toward urbanization is both a threat and an opportunity, according to the report that Molly O'Meara Sheehan presented for the Washington Worldwatch Institute. In the meantime, numerous major cities around the world have placed the consequences of climate change on their political agenda, since they themselves are directly threatened by the effects.

Of the 33 cities with projected eight million residents in the year display

In 2015, 21 due to their coastal location are threatened by rising sea levels as a result of climate change. In the US, too, 300 cities have signed the so-called "US Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement", in which the participating municipalities commit themselves to a reduction of climate-relevant emissions and are committed to a convincing US climate policy.

Global exchange needed

"Over the next ten to fifteen years, it will be decided whether we can prevent the worst effects. Cities - and especially the growing megacities of the South - will be hardest hit by these consequences, "said Bärbel Dieckmann, Lord Mayor of Bonn and Chair of the World Mayor's Council on Climate Change. "But they also have a unique potential to tackle and solve the problems. "Local action, global interaction" is the formula: local action, international exchange of experience and political influence on global politics. "Dieter Salomon, mayor of Freiburg, underlined:" Experts have recently spoken of a 'millenium of cities'.

Never before has the world changed so much as through the urbanization of the last 200 years and the individual mobility through the car in the last 100 years, "said Dieter Salomon, Mayor of the city of Freiburg. "The bigger the cities become and the more people around the world live in them, the greater the global burdens they face: climate change, traffic infiltration, land use, water use, social shifts in the population. This means that the responsibility of cities for global development is growing. "

If cities can not make the transition to sustainability, then nobody will, says Salomon. Climate protection comes first on the agenda. The World Mayor's Council on Climate Change, the International Urban Network for Sustainability (ICLEI), the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (REGE) or Eurocities - cities need to strengthen each other and put their positive weight on climate change into the balance.

Responsible for 80 percent of resource consumption

"There are more than 500, 000 communities worldwide. Although they only cover two percent of the earth's surface, they consume more than 80 percent of all resources, "adds Gunther Hilliges, co-author of the German edition and longtime member of the board of Germanwatch. "Their involvement in the globalization process must be systematically promoted by the states. Problems and positive opportunities are tight and still undetected. "

The current report of the Worldwatch Institute deals with local solutions to global environmental and socio-political challenges and outlines strategies for municipal decision-makers: In several chapters concrete challenges emerge for different challenges such as water supply, transport, energy and climate or local economic policy Examples of successful urban development from such diverse cities as Timbuktu, Lagos, Melbourne, Freetown, Rhizao or Brno are presented.

(Heinrich B ll Foundation and Germanwatch, 04.05.2007 - NPO)