Low-Carbon Cities
The Future of Urban Planning


Just after 3 p.m. (Copenhagen time) on December. 19, 2009, the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) finally ended a day late after overrunning its two-week schedule. It had been initially hoped that this meeting would bring about the conclusion of an international framework to follow the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997. However, several developing countries, notably those in Africa, strongly opposed such a framework. In fact, it had already been decided just before the opening of the meeting that the adoption of such a framework would be postponed. But direct talks between the leaders of more than 20 nations led to the adoption of a resolution to gtake note ofh the Copenhagen Accord agreed at the meeting. From 2010 onward, the accord will be used as a foundation for fleshing out the details of a new framework for addressing climate change.
@The historical significance of the Copenhagen Accord is that it will expedite the participation of the likes of the United States and China into an international framework for addressing global warming which has long been backed mainly by Japan and European nations. The United States and China alone emit more than 40% of the worldfs greenhouse gases. Having these two nations come under a new intarnational framework, along with developed nations that have already ratified the treaty, would cover nearly 70% of the worldfs greenhouse gas emissions. This shows that efforts to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are part of the common global political and economic agenda.
@The implications do not end with high-emitting power stations and the manufacturing industry and its global shipment of products. It shall affect a broad area of urban management, finance and even citizensfdaily lives.
@The content of the Copenhagen Accord relied on reports compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Based on these reports with scientific evidence for climate change, it would be clearly necessary to reduce global emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases by more than 50% by 2050 from 1990 levels. Developed nations will have to cut emissions by 25% by 2020, and by more than 80% by 2050. In order to make such major cuts, fundamental changes must be made to nation and city structure and societal rules. While such reforms could be an ordeal for Japan, the results shall contribute to the global community and also create new business opportunities. It is our great pleasure if insights in his book are put into action and bring in another chance for mankind.

Note for the English Edition

At COP16, held at Cancun, Mexico in December 2010, the status of the Copenhagen Accord was decided to be elevated to a COP decision. We will have to strengthen domestic efforts to reduce CO2 emissions in line with such development of an international framework to address climate change. The editors hope that this book will contribute to building low carbon cities around the world.

Hikaru Kobayashi and Takashi Onishi