CLIMATOPOLIS: HOW OUR
CITIES WILL THRIVE IN THE
Matthew E. Kahn
(New York: Basic Books, 2010), 288
Climatopolis, by Matthew Kahn, professor at UCLA's Institute of the Environment, is a provocative and, at rimes, humorous book about how the world's cities will cope with a hotter future. Citing the UN prediction that 60 percent of the world's population will be living in cities by 2030, along with recent macroeconomic trends indicating increases in the world population, per-capita income and greenhouse gas emissions, Kahn focuses not on how urbanites are going to escape a hotter future but rather on how they will adapt to it.
Building on the premise that the world is warming and that cities will be occupied by a growing proportion of the world's population, Kahn places the spotlight on the "delicious irony" of capitalism's evolutionary role in climate change. In chronicling the challenges and opportunities that a hotter future poses for Los Angeles, New York, Beijing, Shanghai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Lagos, among other cities, Kahn argues that just as capitalist growth generated the problem of greenhouse gas emissions, capitalism's dynamism and ability to spur innovation will allow us to adapt to changes in the...