Tech route to greener cities only 'smart' if residents follow

(Reuters News, 20 Nov 2019) Cities find they need to invest in communicating how cutting-edge efforts to fight climate change will benefit citizens, to deploy them effectively.

High-tech solutions to make cities greener already exist - from local clean power grids to electric transport hubs and intelligent buildings - but deploying them fast enough to curb climate change is a challenge, city and business officials said Wednesday.

Efforts to cut planet-warming emissions by shifting to less polluting energy and transport, and using natural resources more efficiently, will not succeed unless residents participate, they told an international conference on "smart cities" in Barcelona.

"I think it's very important to involve people, and to give them the opportunity, the possibility to really do something," said Anna Schindler, director of urban development for the Swiss city of Zurich.

The banking hub aims to use technology to "solve real problems for real people" in ways that improve their quality of life as well as tackling climate change, she added.

For about a decade, Zurich has been working towards a local aim of creating a "2000-Watt Society", where residents use only as much energy as would be sustainable for each person on the planet to consume.

Reaching that in Switzerland requires cutting energy use by two-thirds and meeting at least 75% of energy needs from renewable sources, so that each person emits only one tonne of greenhouse gases per year.

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Reuters News, 20 Nov 2019: Tech route to greener cities only 'smart' if residents follow