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Engineering LibreTexts

24.1: Background

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  • Today, 55% of the world’s population lives in cities. Estimates suggest that nearly 75% of global annual \(CO_{2}\) emissions come from urban areas\(^{1}\). As such the principal activities and structures that make up these communities include…

    • Residential – Houses, apartment complexes, etc.
    • Commercial – Shops and warehouses.
    • Transportation – Trains, planes, trucks, autos, ships, bicycles, etc. and the structures needed to support them.
    • Manufacturing – Factories, mines, etc.
    • Agriculture – Farms ◦ Energy production – Power plants, mines, well fields, refineries.

    The process of redesigning our communities to be climate resilient means redesigning these activities and structure so we can continue to provide for our needs while ensuring that future generations can do the same. This requires retaining and restoring the integrity of the natural systems on which we depend. To accomplish this is a two-part process that involves changing our communities to slow climate change by reducing net carbon emissions to near zero and altering our communities to survive natural disasters associated with unavoidable climate change. As a general rule of thumb, the more mitigation the global community does the less adaptation individual communities will have to do. Note – Economists, such as Nicholas Stern, argue that mitigation generally is less expensive than adaptation.


    \(^{1}\)Cities and Climate Change, UNEP – UN Environmental Programme cities-and-climate-change

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