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IPPC Cities Conference establishes global blueprint on climate change challenges and impacts on cities

Last week’s CitiesIPCC Cities and Climate Change Science Conference, hosted by the City of Edmonton, culminated with the establishment of a global blueprint to better understand climate change, its impacts on cities, and the critical role localities play in solving the challenge.

Over the course of 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.

Key issues agreed by conference participants where more work is needed include:

  • Most vulnerable populations & ecosystems
  • Improving evidence-based information
  • 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
  • Role of banks, insurance companies & developers in climate action/inaction

Seth Schultz, Director of Science and Innovation, C40 Climate Leadership Group, and one of the co-chairs of the conference’s Scientific Steering Committee commented:

“The impacts of climate change are already being felt in our urban areas, and the next few years are critical for determining how effectively we will rise to the challenge of protecting our cities. However, we can’t undertake this work blindly.

“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 also improve them for generations to come.”

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).

Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II, and a member of the conference’s Scientific Steering Committee, added:

“Business-as-usual will not save the world. This conference disrupted the traditional story of the world’s cities to show how science can partner with policy and practice to transform the world’s cities into climate-smart, equitable and sustainable homes for all.”

The three-day conference, organized by a Scientific Steering Committee made up of engineering, natural and social sciences, humanities, and urban development experts, focused on four major themes:

  • Cities and Climate Change
  • Urban Emissions, Impacts, and Vulnerabilities
  • Solutions for the Transition to Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Cities
  • Enabling Transformative Climate Action in Cities

The findings from the sessions on recent advances in knowledge are expected to generate publications which will be assessed in the IPCC’s ongoing Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), scheduled to be completed in 2022. The resulting global and regional research will also help inform a special IPCC report on cities.

Visit https://citiesipcc.org/ for more information

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