Global warming is of great concern to many people who are concerned about the changes that they experience all around them with increasing frequency. Benjamin R. Barber’s book, Cool Cities, takes a bold look at the problem of climate change and presents new and unique measures for dealing with it focusing on the role of cities. In the author’s words, “The science is clear but the politics is decisive,” and Cool Cities is a book about politics.
Barber argues that cities rather than nation-states should take the lead in fighting climate change. He focuses on two main themes: making politics work for science and making democracy work for politics. Developing the first theme, the author points out that nation-states have not met the challenge of successfully dealing with climate change and that cities have the right to take over and should do so. An examination of the progress ofCOP 21. (twenty first meeting of the Conference of the Parties) suggests that cities are increasingly taking a leading role in bringing about change as the governments of nation-states flounder. Since more than half the world’s population lives in urban areas and contributes most heavily to global warming, cities are the logical source of the solution to the problem. Barber suggests a new social contract and discusses how cities can collaborate to overcome their differences describing fifteen specific measures that mayors can employ to combat climate change and bring about the sustainability that is vital to survival.
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