Climate Change Assessment for Regions and Cities

Below are two good sources of research support for urban-scale climate change response agendas.

The first is the 2011 research report from the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN): Climate Change and Cities: First Assessment Report of the Urban Climate Change Research Network (referred to as ARC3).

The UCCRN is an international network of researchers with a secretariat based at Columbia University in New York. It formed in 2007 to support specific research needs at the intersection of urban development and climate change. The editors of the ARC3 report provided context for their mission in a 2010 Nature article:

For years, the focus on the world’s response to climate change has been on nation states, which have been mostly unsuccessful in brokering comprehensive agreements or taking action. Cities, by contrast, are preparing risk assessments, setting greenhouse-gas emission reduction targets, and pledging to act. Urban areas, home to more than half of the world’s people, are emerging as the ‘first responders’ in adapting to and mitigating climate change.

[…] What the world needs is the same science-based foundation for cities that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides for nations. Scientists including ourselves are now coming together to provide this information, with several groups formed in recent years and influential publications due out soon. Physical scientists, health scientists and engineers are starting to answer specific questions about how cities and the urban environment will interact in the face of climate change. Social scientists are addressing the human and economic costs, specifically for at-risk populations. And all are learning to take a more holistic approach, considering mitigation alongside adaptation and disaster planning.

Another valuable resource for urban-scale climate change work in the United States is a series of regional climate assessment reports in the process of being released. They were written to support the third National Climate Assessment (NCA), due to be completed in early 2014, but are equally valuable for the regional context they provide to state and local government actors. The regional reports are listed below, and can be downloaded at the CAKE (Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange) website as they become available.

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