Scientific American celebrates potential of green cities

Cities are home to more than half the global population and are engines of the global economy, representing innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. Now, as global concern over the impacts and risks of climate change intensifies, cities are being recognized for their position at the vanguard of climate change action.

Scientific American has devoted its September issue to cities and the future of green innovation in the world’s urban centers, exploring many of the solutions that the C40 is forging and supporting.

In this special issue, David Biello, an associate editor at Scientific American, dives into the potential of retrofitting existing city infrastructure to create more efficient urban areas and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Mayors from aound the world gathered this year at the C40 Mayors Summit in Sao Paulo, Brazil At the C40, we see this as a hugely important sector – on average, energy used in buildings makes up 45 percent of C40 Cities’ carbon emissions, according to a groundbreaking report developed in partnership with Arup. C40 Mayors have taken up the challenge, implementing more than 1,300 actions to reduce CO2 emissions from existing buildings.

Urban expert Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig also has an article in this issue, in which she explores how “mayors are often better equipped than presidents to cut greenhouse gases” -- a fact that C40 City leaders from Seattle to Houston to London  are demonstrating every day:

“Mayors and urban managers are taking over because they have a keener sense about how changing weather patterns will affect their cities’ political and economic future. As Bärbel Dieckmann put it in 2007, when she was mayor of Bonn, Germany, ‘cities are already experiencing flooding, water shortages, heat waves, coastal erosion and ozone-related deaths’.”

Through a set of informative and often inspirational pieces, this issue of Scientific American shows that cities have the power -- and the will -- to tackle complex climate challenges.