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Climate Adaptation

Lots of Cities Set Climate Goals. These Cities Are Meeting Them

Palo Alto is ahead of the pack, while Oslo and New York are falling behind.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks about the city's strategy to respond to climate change at Hunters Point South Park on April 22, 2019. New York still has a long way to go to meet its emissions reduction targets. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks about the city's strategy to respond to climate change at Hunters Point South Park on April 22, 2019. New York still has a long way to go to meet its emissions reduction targets. 

Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Cities are home to more than half the world’s population—and produce about 70% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. So while climate change is a global problem, the day-to-day causes and effects will have to be dealt with at a local level.

“If you’re a company, you can move assets, but cities are not like that,” says Paul Simpson, Chief Executive Officer of CDP, a nonprofit research group that pushes institutions to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. “Cities know they are very exposed to climate risk and that they also have opportunities to make better cities, with better air quality and a better quality of life for the people.”