Here in Australia there's a sense of dismay and disbelief in some quarters at our national government's hostility towards sustainability initiatives and action on climate change. Plans to turn priceless Tasmanian heritage forests into timber for boardroom furniture and the Great Barrier Reef into a toxic sludge dump are proof, critics believe, that Canberra is just a nest of termite capitalism. Others say our government is just honest about its intentions. The rest of world's national leaders pay lip service to carbon reduction and safeguarding the environment, but in actual fact do little. The government's defenders do have a point. So far, only a tiny handful of national governments have wrought meaningful change at home. Only a few have the political skill and moral courage to even try to lead an entire country of voters in the difficult, expensive struggle in reducing consumption and fossil fuel dependency. They fear too much for their jobs and perhaps with good reason. But could it be that national governments are as irrelevant in the struggle to save the planet as they seem to be impotent? Some think so.
The Real Climate Change Battlefield is the City"How can there be any argument against prioritizing cities?" asks Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio de Janeiro and C40 Climate Leadership Group chair, "Nations are not delivering". Here are a few interesting facts about cities:
- Over the next 20 years global city populations will increase by 1.4 million every single week. Annually that's 72.8 million, more than the current population of the UK and three times that of Australia!
- Cities are home to more than half the world's population.
- Cities account for 75% of all economic activity and 70% of all greenhouse gas emissions.