Celebrating World Cities Day: Embracing Solar Energy
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This item is part of the Energy Efficiency - Special Issue - 10/2019, click here for more
Ninety-five percent of urban expansion is expected to take place in the developing world over the next few decades, according to the United Nations, and one out of four urban residents currently live in slum-like conditions.
The United Nations has reported that half of the people on the planet live in cities. That number is expected to double by 2050, despite the fact that cities only take up about three percent of the total land on Earth.
The battle for achieving the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, established in 2015, will be won or lost in cities, according to a report by the UN.
Oct. 31 was declared World Cities Day in 2015 in an effort to “promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.”
Promoting clean energy
The purpose of the day is to encourage city leadership from around the world to promote the use of technological innovations in order to improve the lives of their residents.
It’s a stepping stone toward meeting the 11th Sustainable Development Goal, which is to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Goal 7 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals also aligns with the purpose of this day — affordable, reliable, sustainable and clean energy for all. Solar energy plays a major part in that.
For example, In Bolivia, a food security and nutrition program promotes the use of solar energy in the food production, according to a report by the UN. Farmers are able to produce at a lower cost and reduce their CO2 emissions.
The UK100, a network of local government leaders driving the clean energy transition in the United Kingdom, reported that more than 80 cities have committed to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. That includes big cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow!
In the United States, 58 cities and towns have pledged to do the same, including Atlanta and San Diego.
Cities account for 60-80 percent of energy consumption and 75 percent of carbon emissions, according to UN reports.
The whole world is improved if cities are improved. The percentage of energy use creates a strain on resources like fresh water supplies, public health and the environment. Air pollution is a major cause of concern in developing countries especially, with 90-percent of people living in cities breathing unsafe air.