Monday, September 23, 2013

How Resilient Is Your City to Climate Change?

The "burning embers" diagram above w...
The "burning embers" diagram above was produced by the IPCC in 2001. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The political underpinnings of cities’ accumulated resilience to climate change(12 page pdf, David Satterthwaite, Environment & Urbanization, Sep. 2, 2013)
Today we review a look at what is needed to make a city resilient in a broad sense that includes social and political response as well as the usual approach that is aimed simply at building a stronger infrastructure. A distinction was made between high and low income countries where in the latter as many as 30 countries many people live in highly vulnerable shacks. For most cities, resilience is created from accumulated exposure to climate impacts as well as action from local government and communities. Linkage to other jurisdictions is important when the threat comes from outside local boundaries as in watershed flooding. 

Key Quotes:
Resilience in the context of climate change and cities is usually taken to mean the capacity of a city to absorb climate change-related disturbances/shocks while retaining the same basic structure and ways of functioning.” 

In urban centres with accumulated resilience, it is usually local governments that were responsible for most of the factors contributing to the resilience” 

a focus on resource availability beyond the urban boundaries that are essential for populations and/or enterprises…coordinated actions by institutions from other jurisdictions (for instance, the management of watersheds to reduce flood risks that are outside city boundaries and jurisdictions)

“Well-governed cities that have greatly reduced these risks have accumulated resilience to the climate change impacts that exacerbate (or will exacerbate) these risks”

““bottom-up” pressures from citizens and civil society on national and city governments are critical for developing the institutions and measures to reduce climate change-related risks (especially for those most at risk) and to support resilience.”

the extent to which resilience can be effective also depends on global agreements reached on climate change mitigation that slow and stop global warming.” 

Household and community action can increase resilience but its effectiveness often depends on complementary action by government. “
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