A coalition of urban networks launched the Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest effort to date for cities to accelerate reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change. They will empower cities—which account for 70 percent of the world’s energy-related emissions—to make public and deepen their commitments to GHG reductions, to reaffirm existing targets, and to report on their progress annually. The Compact draws on a new standardized measurement system, the Global Protocol on Community-scale GHG Emissions, or GPC, which is being developed by WRI, C40 and ICLEI, that is compatible with international reporting practices.
The impacts of climate change are adding to cumulative stressors that threaten human health. Climate-related threats to human health range from more frequent and intense extreme weather events, to reduced air and water quality, to increased risk of disease. Emerging evidence shows a warming climate contributes to more intense heat waves. Conditions leading to the 2011 Texas drought are 20 times more likely now, in a world warmed by greenhouse gas emissions, than in the 1960s.
he concept of smart, connected transport is a hot topicamong city leaders looking to ride the wave of innovation to more sustainable, prosperous cities. Despite this, building a truly smart and interconnected urban transport system is more than most cities can hope to do all at once.
Three key elements of smart urban transport – communications, efficient operations, and integration – serve as important starting points and can yield significant social, environmental, and economic benefits.
A look at how the inevitable technology of automated cars will change the face of landscape architecture.
Our cities were built to be the backbone support of the industrial revolution. Our roads were built to accommodate the car and truck. Our soil is radically altered due to fertilizers and farm practices of the past. Time and time again we can look at the trend of technology being introduced and a few decades later it fundamentally changes the way we look at the landscape...
Sustainable development is the central drama of our time. In many ways, humanity has squandered the time it once had to adjust to environmental realities. Now our backs are up against the wall. We are living in history, and our generation’s history is the
As Climate Week 2014 quickly approaches, all eyes are on New York City (NYC), the host of this year’s events. And given the recent release of New York’s progressive draft State Energy Plan, “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV), it is perhaps the most appropriate plac
Extreme weather events — the sort likely to arise with increasing frequency as the planet warms — took a heavy toll on Russia and East Africa in 2010 and 2011, in large part because governments and authorities were ill-equipped to address resulting food shortages and other fallout, according to researchers at the University of Oxford. Russia experienced a heat wave that led to food hoarding and price-fixing of staple crops by speculators, according to the report, which was commissioned by Oxfam. A drought in East Africa in 2010 through 2011 was tied to an uptick in armed conflicts in the region, which interrupted international and domestic aid for six months. Crop prices reached record levels in several markets, including wheat in Ethiopia, maize in Kenya, and red sorghum grain in Somalia, the report notes. Investing in additional health facilities, establishing pre-positioned food supplies, and other tactics aimed at mitigating the effects of future heat waves, droughts, and floods, could help to blunt the effects of climate change on the poorest and most vulnerable populations, the researchers say.
Cities have the potential to reduce annual greenhouse-gas emissions by 8 gigatons by 2050, the equivalent of cutting global coal use by more than half, through better energy-management at the local level, according to the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.
Since the late 1950s the United States has observed an increase in heavy precipitation. Warming temperatures due to human-caused climate change has allowed the atmosphere to hold more moisture, which has been a main contributing factor to these increases. Heavy precipitation, combined with factors like aging drainage infrastructure and changing land-use (e.g., more non-permeable surfaces like asphalt), can threaten communities, economies, and human health by amplifying urban floods and flash floods.
Last week, Nadine Unger, an assistant professor at Yale University, published an opinion piece in The New York Times stating that the way to save the planet was to not plant trees. This opinion was wrong at so many levels that it is hard to cover them all here. There are many reasons why we need to protect forests and to plant trees—protecting water supplies, reversing the loss of biodiversity, ensuring that we have pollinators for crops, and sequestering carbon to reduce human-induced climate c
I was at a presentation by the Department of Energy last week (hosted by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships) where they reviewed the status of their Home Energy Score program. Like the fuel economy stickers on cars, these systems aim to create easy to understand energy ratings for buildings. The idea is grounded in basic humanRead More
The major oil companies in the U.S. have not had to pay a price for the contribution their products make to climate change. But internal accounting by the companies, along with a host of other signs, suggest that may soon change
If we want Big Data to create societal progress, more transparency and participatory opportunities are needed to avoid discrimination and ensure that they are used in a scientifically sound, trustable, and socially beneficial way.
Have you ever "enjoyed" an extra screening at the airport because you happened to sit next to someone from a foreign country? Have you been surprised by a phone call offering a special service or product, because you visited a certain webpage? Or do you feel your browser reads your mind? Then, welcome to the world of Big Data, which mines the tons of digital traces of our daily activities such as web searches, credit card transactions, GPS mobility data, phone calls, text messages, facebook profiles, cloud storage, and more. But are you sure you are getting the best possible product, service, insurance or credit contract? I am not.
BIG DATA SOCIETY: Age of Reputation or Age of Discrimination?