Monday, July 14, 2014

On What are Cities Focusing When Taking Action on Climate Change?

Planning for climate change and the urban future ( Luísa Zottis, the city fix, Jun. 10, 2014)

Also discussed here: Cidades planejam-se para mudanças climáticas (Luísa Zottis, the city fix Brasil, Jun. 10, 2014)

And here: Global survey: Climate change now a mainstream part of city planning - Survey reveals cities are planning for climate change, but still searching for links to economic growth. (Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office, May 29, 2014)

Today we review a survey of how cities globally are dealing with climate change. The good news is that almost 3/4s of those surveyed are taking action on both mitigation and adaptation- this drops to 58% in the USA. The bad news is that most cities in the US and Canada assign responsibility for this file to only one staff member, which says something about the intent and lack of resource commitment of the cities and their political leaders. Also although 85% of cities have completed an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, only 15% have taken steps to control or reduce those emissions. Another worrisome statistic is that while many cities focus on mitigation/emissions reduction, only a few (such as Australia) focus on adaptation perhaps because of the imminent an continuing severity of climate change impacts such as flooding and forest fires in that country.


Key Quotes:

Climate change isn’t an isolated issue…It has large implications for all other aspects of urban life. What we are seeing is cities starting to build it into the DNA of how they approach urban planning.”

“75 percent of cities worldwide now tackle climate-change issues as a mainstream part of their planning, and 73 percent of cities are attempting both climate mitigation and climate adaptation … But only 21 percent of cities report tangible connections between the response to climate change and achieving other local development goals.”

Urban planners in Alberta, as Aylett notes, have studied the cost savings associated with limiting metropolitan sprawl and concluded that denser development could save $11 billion in capital costs over the next 60 years, and $130 million in annual maintenance”

“Compared with the global average of 75 percent, U.S. cities lag in planning for both mitigation and adaptation, with just 58 percent of cities addressing both.”

“North American cities are most likely to have just one staff member focused on the topic”

“A lack of funding to hire sufficient staff to work on climate change is a significant challenge for 67 percent of cities.”

“85% of cities have a local inventory of GHG emissions. Still, only 15% of cities invest in controlling emissions resulting from the consumption of goods and services in the city, even if they have data showing that they need to act”

“In the United States, mitigation policies account for 41% of the climate change planning agenda, whereas Australian cities are pursuing largely adaptation-oriented goals”

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