Bill Gates says it’s time to invest in cities to fight climate change

Take Bill Gates. There isn’t one thing he doesn’t do, whether it’s donating millions to the National Institutes of Health to figure out cures for rare diseases or helping tackle poverty. In a new project published on Thursday in the journal Nature Climate Change, he joined a number of experts in calling for governments around the world to be more committed to creating better cities. Cities are critical to the climate-change solution, but many in the developing world lack the expertise or technology to build them in a sustainable way.

“Developing the knowledge to protect cities against climate change is a profound challenge and an urgent need for cities and governments across the world,” said Gates.

In his essay, Gates argued that cost-effective technology is available for cities to combat climate change, and at just one-tenth the cost of infrastructure built in the past. He noted that Chicago could install solar panels that store heat to extend its sunny days by three months a year, saving around 4 million tons of carbon dioxide every year. Because a small investment would have a large payback in reduced energy bills, and climate change would therefore be averted, “these cost-effective technologies could transform the way we grow our cities and the economies they support,” Gates wrote.

Another major challenge cities face is scaling up public transit as a way to address climate change and global poverty. Megacities such as Mumbai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, London, and Beijing already encourage public transit, but many other cities in the developing world don’t have the same infrastructure. Here, however, Gates noted that governments can provide access to public transit by expanding public transportation infrastructure in the places they need it.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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