Cities round up funds to prepare for climate change

Whether you’re a card-carrying member of the Al Gore fan club or a devout global warming Doubting Thomas — all this crazy weather is just a natural cycle — it’s hard to argue that the Boy Scouts have it right: Be prepared.

That’s the gospel that several major cities — including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — are preaching after negotiations with the World Bank to provide potentially billions of dollars in funding for projects and technologies that would seek to minimize the effects of a changing environment, writes the New York Times’ Alexei Barrionuevo. At the C40 climate meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil, representatives from cities worldwide signed an agreement with the World Bank in hopes of tapping resources for climate investments that could total as much as $50 billion, Barrionuevo writes.

According to a blog post for the Huffington Post by climate scientist Heidi Cullen, there’s no easy answer to explain the rash of tornados and floods that have beset the country from Missouri to Massachusetts in 2011. However, Cullen writes that human-induced climate change can be tracked in the form of more severe weather — such as worse droughts, hotter heat waves and heavier downpours.

Rather than wait to see the results of climate changes, several C40 cities are making major plans now, and technology figures to be a critical part. The New York Times’ Leslie Kaufman writes that Chicago is using technologies such as thermal radar to find the city’s hottest spots, which become candidates for pavement removal and city-sponsored rooftop vegetations programs.

Fast Company writer Ariel Schwartz summarizes the climate-oriented measures several C40 cities are taking. For example, Seattle, Philadelphia and Portland, Ore., have set specific emissions targets that exceed national goals. However, to make progress, the cities need standards and funding, which the World Bank agreement will facilitate, Barrionuevo writes.

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