UN launches sustainable cities initiative

Posted at June 20, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on UN launches sustainable cities initiative

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is launching a new initiative to promote efficient use of energy, water and other resources in the world’s cities as Rio+20 gets underway in Brazil.

The Global Initiative for Resource-Efficient Cities initiative, which will be open to cities with populations larger than half a million, aims to encourage sustainable urban development.

By 2050, up to 80% of the world’s population will live in cities, according to UNEP’s estimates. Cities already account for 50% of all waste, generate 60-80% of all greenhouse has emission and consume 75% of natural resources.

But energy savings of up to 50% and water savings of 30% can be made with limited investment through behavioural changes, says UNEP.

“There is an urgent need for coordinated action on urban sustainability,” says UNEP’s executive director, Achim Steiner. “This is essential both for preventing irreversible degradation of resources and ecosystems, and for realising the multiple benefits of greener cities, from savings through energy-efficient buildings, or the health and climate benefits of cleaner fuels and vehicles.”

Earlier this month, the Carbon Disclosure Project called for more funding for cities, which could see significant opportunities associated with climate change mitigation and adaptation.

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