Cities best armed to fight climate change – U.N. climate chief

Thursday, 4 May 2017 17:26 GMT

“The ability of communities to meet their most basic needs – food, water, energy, sanitation – is threatened by climate change”BONN, May 4 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Cities are places where action on climate change can have most impact because they are engines for innovation and also highly vulnerable to a warming planet, the head of the U.N. climate programme said on Thursday.

More than 140 countries have ratified the Paris agreement on climate change and they are looking for leadership from cities to help them implement commitments their national governments made, Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said.

“As each country looks to meet their emissions reduction, energy efficiency or renewable energy goals, they will look to cities as places where transformational change can make the most difference,” Espinosa told a conference on urban resilience in Bonn.

She said cities have a big responsibility in tackling climate change not only because they are large contributors to environmentally harmful greenhouse gas emissions but they also have potential to deliver prosperity and economic opportunity.

“Climate action in cities is the key that unlocks a low emissions and resilient future,” she said.

Climate change risks will become even more pressing as around two-thirds of people are predicted to live in cities by 2050, with developing countries in particular poised to see their urban populations soar.

“Cities should welcome a transformation to sustainable development because cities are uniquely vulnerable,” said Espinosa.

Local action and educating citizens about climate change will be key drivers in reaching the goal agreed under the Paris deal – in effect since last year – to keep global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, she said.

“It is on the ground in the real world where everything comes together,” Espinosa said.

She cited data that shows more than two thirds of the world’s largest cities are in coastal regions, making their citizens vulnerable to sea level rises, flooding and other extreme weather.

“The risk to cities from climate impacts carries great social and economic cost, and of course, the loss of human lives,” said Espinosa.

“The ability of communities to meet their most basic needs – food, water, energy, sanitation – is threatened by climate change.”

These risks will not only affect cities in the developing world, she stressed, citing the impact of Hurricane Sandy in New York and the fact that flooding in Europe has more than doubled in the past 35 years.

(Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, resilience and climate change. Visit

This entry was posted in Biến đổi khí hậu - Climate change and tagged , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development ( I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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