When it comes to understanding climate change and its impacts, it is hard to imagine a more internationally renowned organization than the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” (IPCC). In its assessment reports, which are released every five to six years, the IPCC gathers the current scientific knowledge, technical solutions and socio-economic effects related to climate change on the global – but also regional scale.
In its upcoming report the IPCC focuses on cities as they play a critical role in supporting the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the years ahead. Their fast response in adapting to a changing climate and future actions of cities pursuing low-carbon, climate resilient and sustainable development will shape the future of more than half of the world’s population.
Coming together, facing frontiers
Co-organized by a number of international, governmental, urban and scientific organizations such as C40 Cities, UN-Habitat, UN Environment (UNEP), Cities Alliance, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Future Earth, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the IPCC, the IPCC's "Cities and Climate Change Science Conference” was set to assess the most recent scientific understanding of cities and climate change, and to identify the key research gaps, thereby inspiring the next frontiers of urban climate research.
Being the capital of the oil-rich province of Alberta, the City of Edmonton (Canada) was the ideal choice to host this event. Experts from academia, research organizations, representatives from member states of the United Nations, cities and regional governments, as well as urban and climate change practitioners and policy-makers met from 5th to 7th March 2018 to provide the following outcomes:
- A global research agenda on cities and climate change that advances climate change science and gives recognition and visibility to the knowledge generated by urban stakeholders;
- Enhanced understanding of the impacts of climate change at the urban level, the range of possible responses and the role of cities in the implementation of the Paris Agreement;
- Better informed climate decision-making at the local level, as a result of improved relations between the policy, practice and the scientific communities working on/in urban areas, through new projects, platforms and partnerships.
Finally talking about CLARITY’s vision
The CLARITY project was presented on the second day of the conference under Theme 2: “Urban Climate Information to Support Decision Making: From Local to Global.” The presentation entitled “Next Generation of Climate Services to Support Adaptive Planning and Design in Cities: CLARITY modelling methodology and applications” introduced the CLARITY vision, its “Climate Services Information System” (CSIS) and the underlying EU-GL Methodology to a diverse group of international climate researchers, urban planners and policy makers. The presented CLARITY framework as well as the contribution to identification of research gaps in urban climate research were well received and discussed in various experts’ groups during the conference.
The CLARITY climate change information, especially on the urban scale, and the supporting service tool for climate resilient planning are developed within the CLARITY project. They provide an innovative and helpful approach to solve many climate change related problems in urban areas. Hence, in the scope of enabling pathways for urban transformation, CLARITY can contribute to urban resilience under a changing climate. [Zuvela-Aloise/DM]