“Don’t blame cities for climate change”, report says

Urban environments are less to blame for global warming than previously estimated, says a new report in Environment and Urbanization. UN agencies have claimed cities account for 75% to 85% of climate-warming emissions, but the study suggests the real value is closer to 40%.

The study claims a variety of misperceptions had overstated cities’ importance. For instance, emissions from power stations should be allocated to those that consume the electricity, not the places where the power stations are located.

Emissions generated by industries should likewise be allocated to the person consuming the goods the industries produce, the study says.

"Blaming cities for greenhouse gas emissions misses the point that cities are a large part of the solution," says the paper’s author, David Satterthwaite, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). "Well planned, well governed cities can provide high living standards that do not require high consumption levels and high greenhouse gas emissions."