New report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change | Cities at the heart of the fight

Where do we begin to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions? The most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides several clues. One of them concerns urban areas, where the majority of the planet’s population already lives.

Posted at 5:00 am

Eric-Pierre Champagne

Eric-Pierre Champagne

IPCC experts estimate that cities around the world could achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, provided they start acting now “with ambitious and immediate mitigation efforts, including higher levels of electrification and improved energy and material efficiency.”

Since the Paris Agreement in 2015, emissions of greenhouse gases that can be attributed to urban areas have continued to increase. In 2020, it represented between 67 and 72% of global emissions, compared to 62% in 2015. However, more than half of the planet’s population (56.1%) actually lives in urban areas, and according to the United Nations (UN), This percentage will rise to 68% in 2050.

In Canada as in Quebec, approximately 8 in 10 people lived in urban areas in 2020. Nearly half of Quebecers (48%) lived in the Community Metropolitan Territory of Montreal (CMM).

If cities play an increasing role in the fight against climate change, it is also because the potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is enormous. In its latest report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also indicated that greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas could drop dramatically, from 29 billion to 3 billion tons in 2050.

Transport and land

“Existing city strategies to achieve significant savings in greenhouse gas emissions include efficient modernization, reuse or retrofitting of building stock, support for non-motorized transportation (such as walking and cycling) and transit,” says the Policy Makers Summary, which has a total of 64 pages.

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The report also highlights that changes in urban land use (density, connectivity, and accessibility) “in combination with programs that encourage changes in consumer behavior (such as transportation prices) can reduce GHG emissions and transport-related greenhouse gases in developed countries.”

These proposals were particularly welcomed by Vivre en ville, an organization with offices in Quebec City, Montreal and Gatineau.

The IPCC Working Group III report notes the critical importance of cities in the fight against climate change. […] Actions in land use, transportation and food planning could reduce emissions by 40-70% by 2050.

Vivre en ville, in response to the new report

The world of municipalities is also eagerly awaiting the new national strategy for architecture and urban planning promised by the Legault government. Several stakeholders in recent years have called for tougher regulations in order to reduce urban sprawl.

In Canada, major cities face many challenges in the context of the climate emergency. A recent study by Statistics Canada revealed that the majority of large cities lost green space between 2001 and 2009 due to urbanization.

Effects in CMM

Based on the “urgent need for action”, the Mediterranean Ministerial Council also plans to adopt a draft internal law on temporary control on April 28 that would ban any construction in forest areas and “important” wetlands on its territory.

In Quebec, cities will bear the brunt of the effects of global warming. For example, according to models from the Ouranos Consortium that specializes in the study of climate change, average temperatures in CMM cities could rise by just over 3 degrees by 2050 and nearly 6 degrees by 2050. Here at the turn of the century.

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According to the calculations by the Federation of Quebec Municipalities, the 10 largest cities in Quebec will need $2 billion over 5 years just for climate change adaptation measures.

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  • 76.6 days
    The number of days there could be a year when the temperature is above 30°C in Montreal by the year 2100, according to models from the Ouranos Confederation.

    Source: Ouranos

    In Kuujjaq, in northern Quebec, the average annual temperature can rise by 6.5 degrees Celsius.

    Source: Ouranos

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