This event is one of the series of five public Global Debates celebrating ten years of the Urban Age programme. The debates discuss five core themes that have been the focus of research and debate at the Urban Age since 2005. The event series is organised by LSE Cities and Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society, in association with Guardian Cities.
In the run-up to the Paris Climate Conference (COP21), this debate highlighted the fundamental role that cities can play in reducing global energy demand and limiting carbon emissions. It challenged national and international decision-makers and institutions to recognise that action at the metropolitan level can have a direct impact on the health and environmental stability of the planet, as well as promoting green jobs and social equity. China and India’s urban footprints are expected to be six times larger in 2030 than in 2000, while many African cities are among the fastest growing, ushering in urbanisation to the world’s least urban continent. The World Bank has recently pledged up to US$ 29 billion in financial assistance to poorer nations to cope with climate change. The debate confronts some of the tough questions facing decision-makers – should climate change be addressed through adaptation (should we learn to live with water and flooding like the Dutch?) or mitigation (should we reduce greenhouse gas emissions by planning more connected and compact cities, and making more efficient lifestyle choices?). The world’s most respected climate change economist Nicholas Stern confronted these new realities with urban experts and policymakers working across the globe.