How cities deal with climate change: From individual to collective performance
Document typeMaster thesis (pre-Bologna period)
Rights accessOpen Access
Global urbanization is compounding the potential impacts of climate change, increasing greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere and complicating impacts to people’s livelihoods. Risks include increased frequency of flooding, drought, extreme heatwaves, sea level rise and more; posing significant challenges to governments and decision makers. These challenges are especially high in dense urban areas. Despite these clear risks, many cities have not yet begun to address climate change. However, according to UN-Habitat, when properly planned, implemented, and managed through the appropriate governance structures, cities can be places of innovation and efficiency. Together with their local authorities cities have the potential to diminish the causes of climate change (mitigation) and effectively protect themselves from its impacts (adaptation). The goal of the research is to identify key aspects of adaptation and mitigation to climate change and identify trends among how cities are managing and approaching the issue of climate change, as well as enhance collaboration and sharing knowledge as a way to improve efficiency while building resilience to it. Additionally, this work seeks to identify holes and opportunities in these plans to help cities become more resilient and less vulnerable by managing efficiently by focusing on critical issues. The research consists of a comparison between 50 cities worldwide, based on published “Climate Action Plans” or other key organizational government documents. Specific government actions and risks, adaptation and mitigation measures are identified. These measures are then compared across specific sectors and city characteristics including Köppen Indicator and GDP to identify trends and enhance collaboration between cities. Actions to face climate change are organized by mitigation and adaptation measures. Mitigation measures are sorted by different sectors, and adaptation measures are divided based on identified risks. This provides governments a way to organize efficiently their measures and manage emissions issues (mitigation) and adaptation practices (adaptation). This research shows that most urban areas face similar threats to climate change induced risks. However, many cities do not yet have action plans to minimize these risks. Identifying most common climate change-induced risks, most common adaptation and mitigation practices, and detecting where missing or incomplete information can be improved can enable cities to become more resilient both in the short and in the long term. The combination between acting based on own findings and sharing experiences and therefore learning from other cities with similar features is the best strategy to address climate change in a local scale.