The energy metabolism of developed countries' cities is the main cause of climate change. If developing countries' cities follow the same development path and reproduce the same energy system - and unfortunately most signs suggest that this is happening - there is no way to escape global warming and its effects. The analysis carried out in the present study tells us that, to mitigate the impact of global warming, the development paths of both rich and poor cities must converge to a new, low-carbon energy system, capable of ensuring a minimum acceptable quality of life for the poorest inhabitant of a shanty town and preserving the present high quality of life of the wealthiest inhabitant of a rich city. The analysis also shows that there are all the necessary technological means for cities to enter the path of sustainable development, intrinsically capable of meeting the requirements of both mitigating the global warming process and improving the quality of life. © 2010 Earthscan.
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