Paris targets can be achieved if we can change how cities are built and run

Future Cities Catapult chair Keith Clarke has declared that climate targets set by world leaders in the Paris Agreement can be met if we change the way we build and run cities.

Speaking at a Smart Cities event in Abu Dhabi, Mr Clarke addressed key challenges in creating the successful, prosperous, culturally diverse and socially satisfying cities; against the challenging backdrop of tighter targets for the very CO2 emissions for which cities are chiefly responsible.

With global population levels set to reach 9bn by 2030, and with 70 per cent of that total living in cities, an estimated $30tn of infrastructure works will be needed to meet urban priorities – all this against the backdrop of a 2ºC cap (with an aspirational target of 1.5º) on global temperature rises as agreed at the COP21 climate summit in Paris.

‘The Paris accord – which the UAE ratified commendably early – is a game-changer in how we build our cities’ explained Keith. ‘It means a revolution in planning and infrastructure, with cities leading the way in upholding a 1.5ºC target that protects biodiversity while promoting equality and health.’

‘While buildings come and go, roads and public rights-of-way endure, harbouring services that range from waste and utilities to data and transport systems. It is in these areas particularly that cities can influence the delivery of infrastructure within the new parameters.’

‘It’s not about halting development,’ says Keith. ‘COP21 is about effecting the transition to low-carbon growth. Cities will still have to do all the things that make them successful, that make us want to live in them, that offer us meaningful choices. But they have to do it more sustainably.’

About Future Cities Catapult

Future Cities Catapult exists to advance innovation, to grow UK companies, to make cities better. We bring together businesses, universities and city leaders so that they can work with each other to solve the problems that cities face, now and in the future. This means that we catalyse and apply innovations to grow UK business and promote UK exports.

From our Urban Innovation Centre in London, we provide world-class facilities and expertise to support the development of new products and services, as well as opportunities to collaborate with others, test ideas and develop business models.

We help innovators turn ingenious ideas into working prototypes that can be tested in real urban settings. Then, once they’re proven, we help spread them to cities across the world to improve quality of life, strengthen economies and protect the environment.

Follow us on Twitter @futurecitiescat or sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date with our news.

For further information about Future Cities Catapult please contact Naomi Moore on nmoore@futurecities.catapult.org.uk / 07718 584331

Downloadable headshot of Keith is available here.

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