Cool Air: Parks and gardens hold key to cooling overheated cities

Nature in urban settings can have huge impact on temperature and human behaviour, study shows

Parks, trees, green roofs and gardens are what scientists call nature-based solutions to cooling overheated cities.

Then there are the technical solutions, solar panels, heat pumps and other ways of cutting fossil fuel use. But even all these combined are not enough to reach the goal of net zero carbon emissions. - This is partly because as climate change makes our cities hotter during the summer months, people tend to change their behaviour. For example, they may stop cycling to work and opt to sit in an air-conditioned car, making a bad situation worse.

Scientists suggest ideas such as planting avenues of trees along busy roads to make them cooler, to removing carbon and encouraging bicycles.

:point_right: A study of 54 cities in Europe using satellites shows this approach is working and can inform local government where to use nature in urban settings to have the maximum effect on cooling and human behaviour. They estimate that nature-based solutions can reduce carbon emissions in cities by 25%.

The data shows this approach is already working in overheated places such as Nicosia in Cyprus, Zaragoza in Spain, Plovdiv in Bulgaria and some Nordic countries.

Some places could reach carbon neutrality by 2030 with existing technology while working with nature to change behaviour, cool cities and absorb carbon.

Read on :point_right: Original article in the Guardian