Climate change and cities: a prime source of problems, yet key to a solution

Ahead of the COP21 UN climate summit, Nicholas Stern and Dimitri Zenghelis argue that the choices cities make today on transport and industry will determine whether the world can benefit from resource-efficient growth

Cities are home to half the world’s population and produce around 75% of the world’s GDP and greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, between 65% and 75% of the world population is projected to be living in cities, with more than 40 million people moving to cities each year. That’s around 3.5 billion people now, rising to 6.5 billion by 2050; a huge and singular event in human history.

This places cities at the centre of economic activity affecting how economies grow, how resources are allocated, how innovation takes place, whether innovation is used well or badly and, if badly, how much damage it inflicts on others now and in the future. They can also be very exposed and vulnerable to climate risks such as water shortages, floods and heat stress. The mass congregating of people and rising demand for resources, under poor organisation and governance, make cities prime sources of pollution, congestion and waste.

Cities are all about efficiency – it is why they are there in the first place

Stockholm reduced emissions by 35% from 1993 to 2010, but grew its economy by 41%

Related: ‘My children are suffering but what can I do?’ Delhi’s polluted air, by the people who live there

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A December rate rise may be a mistake by the Fed

Why do businesses and households need the Federal Reserve to intervene with higher borrowing costs if they are already restraining themselves?

There was never going to be a right time for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, yet now, as the US central bank prepares for a December “lift-off”, it seems the first move in seven years will be both too early and too late.

Too early, because many of the underlying weaknesses of the US economic system are still evident: the low rate of Americans’ participation in the workforce; a lack of above-trend wage growth to drive up shop prices. Then there is the insipid global growth forecasts brought on by a decline in global trade.

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HBOS timeline: the countdown to collapse

As the long-awaited report into the troubled emergency takeover of HBOS by Lloyds is published, we look back over the bank’s turbulent 14-year history

May 2001 Halifax and Bank of Scotland merge to create HBOS, a “new force in banking”.

January 2004 Mike Ellis, the then finance director, tells the board the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is concerned the bank is an “accident waiting to happen”. This subsequently emerges in the parliamentary commission on banking standards (PCBS) report in 2013.

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Britain’s got a Lib Dem-sized hole in its heart – and we’ll know it with the autumn statement | Edward Docx

Unfettered Osbornomics is what we’ll get on 25 November. If we had a financially literate opposition rather than Corbyn’s Labour, things might be different

There were two oppositions in the last parliament: Labour and the Liberal Democrats. And, this week more than ever, it is worth saying that only the latter made any difference to the real lives of real people. Why? Because they were in government. But thanks to their brutal contraction and the subsequent departure of Don Corbyn de la Mancha for his knight-errant’s tour of windmills, we now have no effective opposition at all (unless you count the House of Lords). And this is about to matter in lots of painful ways to millions of people when the chancellor announces what cuts he plans to make in the spending review in his autumn statement on Wednesday.

Related: George Osborne agrees 24% spending cuts with ministers

Related: These children of Thatcher are free to cut, cut, cut – and they’re loving every minute | Polly Toynbee

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UK manufacturers fear bleak outlook as export orders tumble

CBI’s snapshot of sector reveals strong pound and jitters over global growth are likely to dent factory output

UK manufacturers have reported the weakest overseas demand for their goods for almost three years as they grapple with a strong pound and a weaker global economy.

The latest snapshot of factory order books and output from the CBI also showed companies expected output to fall over the coming three months – despite it having picked up in recent weeks, the business group reported.

Related: UK manufacturers urge George Osborne to maintain spending on innovation

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