World Bank, megacities seal united front for climate change

World Bank, megacities seal united front for climate change

The World Bank and the 40 largest cities on the planet Wednesday sealed a deal in Sao Paulo to reduce their carbon footprint and adapt to climate change, dpa reported.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick, speaking at the fourth climate summit of the C40 Initiative, noted that megacities are responsible for about 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. C40 cities are specifically responsible for 12 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions which are blamed for global warming.

The cities are therefore crucial in the fight against climate change, Zoellick said.

The deal, which calls among others for assistance for slum dwellers in large cities, was signed by Zoellick and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, current president of the C40 group.

According to a World Bank study released at the meeting, 1 billion people living in the poor neighbourhoods of large cities in developing countries are particularly at risk in the face of climate change. The threat stems from the fact that they live in mudslide- or flood-prone areas, or by the sea, where water levels are expected to rise as the polar ice caps melt.

The C40 climate summit is held every two years. Former US President Bill Clinton took part in the Sao Paulo gathering because his foundation supports the initiative.

The C40 Climate Leadership Group was founded in London in 2005. It aims to design joint strategies to combat the effects of climate change and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Sao Paulo, a city of 11 million people, aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by next year.

The US city of Chicago for example is already getting ready for a warmer wetter future, planting southern trees such as sweet gum and swamp oaks instead of its native white oak and installing wider sidewalks to accommodate shade trees, landscaping and special paving that will absorb and store water, the New York Times reported recently.

Chicago is also adding bike lanes to encourage more pedal power and less gas power.

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