Decarbonising urban buildings and transport is key to hitting the goals set at the Conference of the Parties (COP21) meeting in Paris last December, according to a new report.

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) annual Energy Technology Perspectives report found that cities account for up to two-thirds of the potential to cost-effectively reduce global carbon emissions.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said: “Cities today are home to about half the global population but represent almost two-thirds of global energy demand and 70% of carbon emissions from the energy sector, so they must play a leading role if COP21 commitments are to be achieved.

“Because cities are centres of economic growth and innovation, they are ideal test-beds for new technologies – from more sustainable transport systems to smart grids – that will help lead the transition to a low-carbon energy sector.”

Roof-mounted solar panels

The report recommended installing on-site generation – such as roof-mounted solar panels – on buildings being erected in developing countries.

It also suggested constructing such buildings using energy-efficient windows and appliances.

Electric vehicles should also be used in newly-built cities in developing countries, it added.

> Download the IEA report