Global research agenda for cities and climate change mapped out

The inaugural Cities IPCC Cities and Climate Change Science Conference, hosted by the City of Edmonton, Canada, culminated last week with the establishment of a global blueprint to better understand climate change, its impacts on cities, and the critical role localities play in solving this challenge.

Over three days, scientists, policymakers, researchers and development experts worked to assess the current state of academic and practice-based knowledge related to cities and climate change, identify key knowledge priorities, and chart a course forward for academic, practitioner and urban policy-making communities.

The conference agreed that transformation needs to happen now, focusing on the need for:

Inclusion and social transformation, focusing on:

  • Justice, equity

  • Power asymmetries and structural barriers

  • Most vulnerable populations & ecosystems

  • The challenges and opportunities of informality

  • Innovative forms of governance and institutions

Improving evidence-based information

  • Boundaries of urban systems

  • Exploring trade-offs and synergies of climate change mitigation & adaptation

  • Data, scenarios and modelling at the city level

  • Robust climate and urban information

  • Inequity in data gaps; mapping informal settlements

  • Potential and benefits of Nature-Based Solutions

Funding & finance

  • Role of banks, insurance companies & developers in climate action/inaction

  • Translation of costs & benefits of climate actions across multi-economic sectors (e.g. private/finance)

Seth Schultz, Director of Science and Innovation, C40 Climate Leadership Group, and one of the co-chairs of the conference’s Scientific Steering Committee said the impacts of climate change are already being felt in urban areas, and the next few years are critical for determining how effectively cities can be protected.

"At this conference we have been able to coalesce around the most important areas of inquiry so we can use precious time and resources in the most efficient and targeted way possible. And this research won’t just help save our cities – it will 1 also improve them for generations to come,” he said .

The conference, the first of its kind, was co-sponsored by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) , with nine partners - C40 Cities, Cities Alliance, Future Earth, ICLEI, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), UN-Habitat, and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) .

More information is here.

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