Experts have established a global blueprint to better understand climate change, its impacts on cities, and the critical role local authorities play in solving this challenge.
Cities are responsible for some 75% of global CO2 emissions, with transport and buildings being among the largest contributors.
The research agenda was drawn up at the IPCC Cities and Climate Change Science Conference that ended in Edmonton, Canada this week
"The impacts of climate change are already being felt in our urban areas, and the next few years are critical for determining how effectively we will rise to the challenge of protecting our cities (...) This research won't just help save our cities - it will also improve them for generations to come," said Seth Schultz, Director of Science and Innovation with the C40 Climate Leadership Group and one of the co-chairs of the conference's Scientific Steering Committee.
A primary focus of the conference was on the Paris Agreement, the UN's Sustainable Development goals, the New Urban Agenda, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, all of which require cities to implement new sustainable development plans to adapt and respond to climate change.
The range of knowledge gained from the sessions will help chart a course for current and future sources of emissions, urban climate impacts, and pathways for cities to pursue emissions reduction and resilience strategies.
Cities Are Playing a Central Role in Global Efforts to Raise Climate Ambition
UN Climate Change is also promoting more climate ambition on the part of cities and increased investment in investing in livable, low-carbon, resilient urban development.
The recently launched "Cities and Regions Talanoa Dialogue" provides opportunities to advance governance on climate action, specifically in urban areas. The scheme aims to ensure coordinated action across all levels of government, and will be facilitated by ICLEI -Local Governments for Sustainability with Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and UN-Habitat as special partners.
This is part of the wider Talanoa Dialogue launched by the Presidency of the UN Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn last year, an important international conversation in which countries will check progress and seek to increase global ambition to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.