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Cities & Climate Change Science Conference (2018 CitiesIPCC Conference)

5-7 March 2018 | Edmonton, Canada

Summary Highlights, 5-7 March 2018

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IPCC Vice-Chairs Youba Sokona, and Thelma Krug

Nathalie Jean-Baptiste, Ardhi University; Peter Head, Ecological Sequestration Trust, Resilience Brokers; and Sheela Patel, Slum Dwellers International

Highlights for Wednesday, 7 March 2018

The CitiesIPCC conference met for its third and final day on Wednesday. Discussions were devoted to the fourth conference theme: Enabling transformative climate action in cities (advancing science and advancing cities). Given the upcoming IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C, several panels were dedicated to exploring emissions pathways, and the challenges and role of cities to contribute to meeting this target, including an exploration of territorial versus consumption-based emissions.

Throughout the day, participants identified research gaps that could unlock the potential for cities to reduce their emissions and enhance resilience, while addressing inequalities and other social issues. The need for research on inclusion and social transformation, particularly for the most vulnerable, was mentioned by many. Several research gaps on informality were noted, such as:

  • Understanding the dynamics between formal and informal economies;
  • Developing analytical tools to analyze challenges in informal settlements; and,
  • Fostering communities of knowledge, including indigenous and local knowledge systems.

The motivation of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to co-design the future research agenda, which, in one session a convenor described as a “daunting task,” led to the identification of a wide range of research needs. A few of the clusters of research needs were:

  • Aggregating local achievements: comparable or standardized data gathering methods; ways to model and assess potential emission reductions; tools to measure policy performance; methods to reduce the reporting burden on cities; and ways to avoid double counting;
  • Governance: how to create path dependencies that “lock in” policies and behaviors to reduce emissions and improve resilience; integrating policies at local, national, and regional scales
  • Building capacity: providing cities access to long-term climate impact and risk information; and technical training for cities
  • Finance: methodologies to determine social benefits in cost-benefit analyses; ways to stimulate demand for small adaptation projects; tools to reduce barriers to local governments accessing finance; and ways to make capital costs serve the needs of secondary cities.

In this research agenda, many participants and panelists underscored the need for a robust science-policy-practice interface to continue the work of this conference in the future.

Closing the conference, Mayor Don Iveson, Edmonton, Canada, outlined the legacies of this conference, from a research agenda, and partnerships with youth, to his personal commitment to mobilize cities to support science-based climate policy.

IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage provided daily digital coverage and a summary report from the 2018 CitiesIPCC Conference. The summary report is now available in HTML and PDF.

Photos by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis
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Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton, Canada

Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities

David Miller​, C40 Cities Regional Director, North America and C40 Cities Ambassador for Inclusive Climate Action

Natan Obed, President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Diana Ürge-Vorsatz, Central European University

Seth Schultz, C40 Cities

Shobhakar Dhakal, Asian Institute of Technology

Organizing Committee group photo

From L-R: Jennifer Lenhart, IISD; Jaimin Upadhyay, Mayor of Rajkot, India; and Yunus Arikan, ICLEI

 

Lin “Judy” Jingtong, China

Kevina Nuraini Yusuf, Indonesia

Highlights for Tuesday, 6 March 2018

The CitiesIPCC conference convened for the second day on Tuesday. During the day, participants discussed themes of the science and practice of cities related to urban emissions, impacts, and vulnerabilities, and of solutions for the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient cities. Across the themes, many panels and participants underscored the need to undertake multi-disciplinary research and bring together different types of practitioners such as engineers, planners, and communications experts.

Theme two: urban emissions, impacts, and vulnerabilities: Vulnerabilities raised ranged from the unique circumstances of coastal communities, to specific infrastructure-related vulnerabilities such as airports, waste management, and storm water management.

Many panels discussed how climate change can be integrated into the varied decisions that cities make. Some of the ideas included creating coordination mechanisms to work across silos, and partnerships with local or global research institutes. Many panels discussed how climate change can be integrated into the varied decisions that cities make. Some of the ideas included creating coordination mechanisms to work across silos, and partnerships with local or global research institutes. Others noted research and policy can inform one another and that communities have a key role in these efforts.

Theme three: solutions for the transition to low carbon and climate resilient cities: Several participants noted the promise of green infrastructure and other nature-based solutions to build resilience. In other panels, some observed uncertainties in the costing data and need to design metrics for green infrastructure. While some focused on such nature-based solutions, many others explored the role of new technologies, such as smart cities, autonomous cars, and the internet of things, noting opportunities, but also the need for policy to provide direction and manage possible drawbacks. Other key conversations included the limits of urban action, and the need to link actions and monitoring systems beyond urban boundaries as part of managing complex systems and enabling funding for change.

Closing the day, members of the Scientific Steering Committee presented the findings from the conference papers to foreshadow discussions occurring tomorrow on theme four: Enabling transformative climate action in cities (advancing science and advancing cities).

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Jim Skea, Co-Chair, IPCC WGIII

Andrew Gouldson, University of Leeds

Mehrnaz Ghojeh, BuroHappold Engineering

Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, Vice Mayor of Environment and Transportation, Oslo

Diana Ürge-Vorsatz, Central European University

Mark Pelling, King’s College London

Benjamin Delali Dovie, University of Ghana

From L-R: Meryl Jagarnath, University of KwaZulu-Natal; Miho Kamei, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies; and Lei Song, China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong

Highlights for Monday, 5 March 2018

David Miller​, C40 Regional Director, North America and C40 Ambassador for Inclusive Climate Action

Elder Ron Arcand, Alexander First Nation

Audrey Poitras, President of Métis Nation of Alberta, Canada

Wilton Littlechild, Grand Chief, the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations

Sarah Hoffman, Deputy Premier of Alberta, Canada

IPCC Scientific Steering Committee

From L-R: Amy Luers, Executive Director, Future Earth International; Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities; Nathalie Jean-Baptiste, Ardhi University; Peter Head, Ecological Sequestration Trust, Resilience Brokers; and Sheela Patel, Slum Dwellers International

Mark Ojal, Nairobi Risk Partnership

David Dodman, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

Alexei Trundle, University of Melbourne

Kavya Michael, Indian Institute for Human Settlements

Nurul Islam Nazem, University of Dhaka

Between Sessions


Daily Web CoverageAbout | 5 Mar | 6 Mar | 7 Mar | Summary
Funding for coverage of the 2018 CitiesIPCC Conference has been provided by IPCC
IPCC