Save the planet


No issue is more important than climate change. All we need to do now is make sure that all the countries in the world understand this too. At the beginning of December, the United Nations is holding a conference on climate change in Paris.

The last such conference took place in Copenhagen in 2009. And that was a total fiasco, which says a great deal about the challenges facing mankind, that, even when we're on the verge of an environmental disaster, we can't reach an agreement. Today however the situation is slightly different. The climate crisis can no longer be regarded as exclusively an environmental issue but rather as affecting our long-term survival, which means that political and economic decisions are required. The good thing however is that even relatively small measures can have a widespread and significant impact. A survey by The New Climate Economy indicates, for example, that CO2 emissions can be reduced by up to 20 per cent just by having a proper environmental plan for transport and new building. Of those cities with a successful environmental policy, Copenhagen was singled out for its footpaths and cycle paths and Madrid was praised for its car-free zones. And there are high hopes too for Zero Energy Buildings, which are both climate smart and good for the economy. Clearly, if we are to have an impact on climate, we must start with our cities. The world's cities take up only 5 per cent of the earth's surface but account for 70 per cent of all emissions of CO2.

So, dear politicians, don't leave the conference table until you've reached an agreement. It's high time we did!