Thoughts on this afternoon’s talk on City Solutions to Climate Change

This afternoon Claire and I are going to an event at the Fort on Copacabana beach on City Solutions to Climate Change organised by the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN). This will include an amazing list of speakers that includes:

  • Cynthia Rosenzweig: Senior Research Scientist and Head of Climate Impacts Group, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies/Columbia University
  • Shobhakar Dhakal: Executive Director, Global Carbon Project
  • Martha Barata: Research and Professor at Fiocruz
  • Helena Molin Valdes: Acting Director, UNISDR
  • Daniel Wiener: Chairman Global Energy Basel Foundation

This will be followed by a discussion with local experts including invited Mayors from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. I’m really excited about this; cities are very much at the forefront of leading the way of climate change solutions given a whole host of reasons such as:

  • More than half the world’s population now lives in cities
  • People in cities consume more resources, but they have more to save and can do this efficiently
  • High population density means actions can have effects on large amounts of people – although this can also be a vulnerability to natural hazards and infrastructure failure
  • Cities can be test-beds for new approaches long before national legislation is enacted
  • All cities are different, but many share common characteristics
  • There is also an element of competition amongst some of the cities to lead the most innovative solutions
  • Cities are hubs of innovation and creativity

That’s a just a few of the reasons, there are many more and it would be great to hear why you think cities can lead the way. After all, Newcastle was the leader of the UK Sustainable Cities Index two years running (2009-10) so we should know a bit about this! Furthermore, the 2011 Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research Annual Assembly was hosted by Newcastle University where two of today’s speakers, Cynthia Rosenzweig and Shobhakar Dhakal, both came and gave excellent keynote talks. Very much looking forward to listening to them again and will be keen to hear what they might have to say about synergies between energy and water infrastructure.

Ed Byers, PhD Civil Engineering and Geosciences

1 thought on “Thoughts on this afternoon’s talk on City Solutions to Climate Change

  1. Pingback: Rio+20+1 month | Sustainability@Newcastle

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