IPCC AR6: 5 questions to understand Chapter 8

The expansion of urban zones creates the opportunity to create sustainable development. Read more about how urban development creates sustainability! 

IPCC Report 🦥


4 min


June 24, 2022


Table of contents

💭 What are the main issues related to urban population growth?

The main problem with urban population growth 📊 is the increased cost and higher demand for consumption, as more people moving to an already densely populated area immediately calls for more resources – often which are difficult to provide to satisfy the growing, immediate urban population.

While urbanization is on the rise and is often correlated with higher incomes and a greater ability to consume, this growth in population inevitably leads to a lack of resources and the ability to decrease carbon emissions as easily.

In short, urbanization is a bad thing – but it is important to note that future urbanization is likely to happen in developing countries, 🌎where efficient resources are already scarce and will become even scarcer as population density increases. Therefore, it is crucial to adapt our greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental behaviors in order to adjust accordingly and ensure that urbanization remains sustainable. 

❓ How is the share of urban greenhouse gas emissions changing?

Global greenhouse gas emissions increased by 6% across the planet – and they are only expected to increase in hand with urbanization. 🤝

Greenhouse gas emissions increased from 2000 to 2015, with developed cities seeking to continue urban population growth producing almost seven times the amount as a lower emitting region not seeking urbanization. 🏘️

The future of greenhouse gas emissions created by urbanization will continue to grow until the year 2050 if no concrete efforts are made to deter the ultimate environmental effects of urban population growth. 

As urban land expansion continues, as does the demand for greater service and infrastructure for the joining population in the urban setting – and the attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must be personalized to the current growth of the current urban population in each setting. 🏙️

🌍 How is the expansion of our urban areas both a threat and an opportunity for the environment?

The expansion of urban areas is an equal opportunity to grow our community, but also presents an increased risk for our already existing problem with high concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. ☁️

Urban populations have the potential to triple from 2015 to 2050 and can impact carbon emissions, and could cause an inevitable increase in carbon emissions. For example, the construction and renovating of buildings and various infrastructures, such as housing, for urban populations will provoke an increase in carbon emissions up until the year 2030.

Due to the complexity and duality of rising carbon emissions and the scientific hypothesis that more extreme climate changes are to come, there is an immediate need to implement carbon emission reduction in the urbanization process so that these cities can contribute to the fight against climate change accordingly. 👏🏻

Creating a unified effort to mitigate climate change in each urban population can create a sustainable effort to reduce carbon emissions while also aiding social equality, employment, local economy, and the general well-being of the urban population. 🙌🏻

Some things that these growing urban populations can do are reduce their energy consumption  across all areas such as infrastructure, switch to net zero emissions through renewable energy resources, and to promote carbon neutrality. Even something as simple as planting street trees or installing green roofs would aid against the fight of increased carbon emissions as urban populations grow as well. 

🏘️ How can we successfully adopt a Net-Zero urbanization policy?

Is it possible to achieve a net-zero urbanization policy in the midst of these growing urban populations, with no signs of slowing down?

An urban population’s ability to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions is contingent on their current layout. In other words, the city’s land size and population density, and if the city is established or still growing a community and resource opportunities will determine their contribution to reducing carbon emissions. 

The ability to achieve net-zero emissions in these growing urban populations will demand the dedication from all components of the government as well as a thought-out financial plan 💸 to contribute to each sector necessary to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions caused by urbanization. 

Some of the easiest things that leaders of an urban population can do to promote more environmentally friendly habits is to employ and persuade the use of public transportation, create more green spaces such as parks, and even plant trees 🌳on the sidewalk.

💪 What support do municipalities have?

As explained before, plausible positive change to carbon emissions in urban populations require the support of the government as well. 

Committing to a project like urbanization that also seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time presumes the financial support of the government and other non-state actors such as various businesses, research organizations, and nonprofits willing to help develop and succeed in carbon-friendly urbanization. 🏦

It is clear that the financial efforts of municipalities alone will not satisfy the fiscal need to effectively establish an environmentally friendly city plan for a growing urban population. 

🔍 What do you need to remember?

Ironically, the opportunity for urban population growth presents the opportunity to further establish new communities, but also presents an environmental risk as urbanization will inevitably elicit a high rate of greenhouse gas emissions. 😬

Given the current rise and growing predicament of global warming that we are already facing, another grand contributor to greenhouse gas emissions isn’t something we need to worry about in the midst of these other global challenges.

Therefore, it is imperative that these growing urban populations seek environmental solutions to mitigate their carbon footprint as they continue to build on their already existing urbanization. 

Erratic climate change, such as heat waves, further address the crucial need to modify the planning of urban places – such as installing cooling sources to ensure the health and safety of those who dwell in these growing urban populations.  

Urbanization isn’t going to slow down any time soon – which means the call for action to prevent their environmental impact needs to be made now. 

🍀 What about Greenly?

Your company/organization can also do its part. Call our experts and ask for your carbon assessment!

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