Tackling the challenges of adaptation and mitigation
Tackling the challenges of adaptation and mitigation in cities is essential in addressing human-induced climate change. That is why in March-April 2016, 20 cities and 25 organizations from around the world joined the #CitiesIPCC campaign led by C40 and ICLEI, asking the IPCC to pay greater attention to the role of cities in responding to climate change.
At its 43rd Session in Nairobi in April 2016, which agreed the topics for special reports for its new Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) cycle, the IPCC recognized the urgency of more work in the area and decided:
- To recommend, within the AR6 scoping processes, a stronger integration of the assessment on the impacts of climate change on cities and their unique adaptation and mitigation opportunities, and make more robust the consideration of cities in the treatment of regional issues and in chapters that are focused on human settlements, urban areas and the like, including through the enhanced engagement of urban practitioners;
- To include a Special Report on Climate Change and Cities in the seventh assessment cycle (AR7); and
- To consider working with academia, urban practitioners, and relevant scientific bodies and agencies, to organize an international scientific conference on climate change and cities early in the AR6 cycle, in order to stimulate scientific reports and peer- reviewed publications on this subject.
Building on the success of COP21, this decision adds to the engagement of cities in tackling climate change and provides new opportunities for collaboration among cities, states and the international scientific community. It was celebrated by urban stakeholders because:
- After the political recognition at COP21, cities are gaining increased recognition amongst the international scientific climate community, which provides the evidence base for the UNFCCC negotiations. The Paris momentum is therefore strengthened by this decision.
- It provides a significant opportunity to enhance the scientific evidence on cities and climate change, including the impacts of climate change on cities such as regional impacts, adaptation and mitigation opportunities in cities; including sectoral actions (land use, transport, buildings, waste); and the evidence of successful actions, cross-cutting issues such as governance, financing and the integration of sustainable development.
- There is a special focus on the enhanced engagement of urban practitioners who will work together with scientists to share recent findings on cities and climate change. This new knowledge, as it builds up into the relevant chapters of AR6 and through AR7, will enable better climate policy-making at the local level.
- Deciding on a Special Report on Climate Change and Cities seven years in advance will give cities and networks adequate time to work with ational governments and universities on new, well-funded research programmes on cities and climate change in order to generate the literature that will provide the basis for this assessment. The International Scientific Conference on Cities and Climate Change is an important international milestone marking the start of this process.