Cities Play a Major Role in Driving Climate Change

As the venue for the majority of the world's production and consumption, cities are the geographical loci of energy use, which is the primary source of GHG emissions. This role of cities grows even more significant when their environmental footprint is considered, including, for example, the impact of urban dwellers' emissions on local and regional air pollution and of their materials consumption on distant deforestation.

14 For additional discussion and references, see Chapter 12 in Part II of the report.

Built-up areas also change the reflectivity of the terrestrial surface, primarily through increased dark surfaces (e.g., roads, rooftops), which contribute to the urban heat island effect.

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