Once again, withering heat is upon us — setting records in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, even here in usually temperate Seattle. Just walking a dog without completely melting down involves a zigzag path down the street, moving from one shady patch to another. Much of that shade comes from trees, which — in yet another irony of climate change — are disappearing in cities as fast as the temperature rises.

For decades, there has been an accelerating decline in urban trees, the victims of development, pests and inadequate city budgets. As a result, metro areas, especially neighborhoods experiencing poverty, have become "heat islands" — summer temperatures in certain neighborhoods are 15 to 20 degrees hotter than nearby suburbs with more trees and less pavement.

This unfortunate convergence underscores the reality that traditional ways of funding the planting and preserving of urban trees are not working. However, the problem has also given rise to a new investment opportunity in the fast-growing world of carbon credits.

When most people think of carbon credits, they think of preserving the tropical rain forests of the Amazon or reforesting Scottish moors. But what urban planners, city mayors and investors are discovering is that the humble city tree, once taken for granted, is an increasingly valuable asset. The trees that dot boulevards and make up urban green belts can bring much-needed shade and calm to millions of stressed city dwellers. At the same time, they can be a new source of revenue to municipal governments while helping companies meet net-zero targets — and provide investors with a rigorous and legitimate ESG investment.

Read the full article about green cities by Kari Huus at GreenBiz.