28 Mar 2012

Sprawling cities putting pressure on environment

2:52 pm on 28 March 2012

A climate conference has been told expanding cities threaten to eat up a swath of land the size of France, Germany and Spain combined in less than 20 years.

Experts at the Planet Under Pressure conference in London say the world's cities are currently on track to occupy an extra 1.5 million square kilometres by 2030, with growing greenhouse gas emissions and resource demand, Reuters reports.

The United Nations sees global population rising to 9 billion people by 2050 from 7 billion now, adding about 1 million people each week.

Most of the growth is expected to come in urban centres, with migration from rural areas potentially adding another 1 billion people to cities.