Recent meetings have prompted the release of several new research reports about cities, described as the “front-line of climate action” at the 10th anniversary meetings of the EU’s Covenant of Mayors in February . The biggest meeting, and first-ever Cities and Climate Change Science Conference , was co-sponsored by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and was held in Edmonton, Alberta in March 5 – 7. The conference commissioned five reports , and included several others, including “Six Research Priorities for Cities and Climate Change” , which appeared in Nature in February. Detailed daily coverage of the conference was provided by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD); the closing press release is here .
In advance of the IPCC Cities conference, CDP released The World’s Renewable Energy Cities report , with new data that shows that 102 cities around the world are now sourcing at least 70 percent of their electricity from renewables (more than double the 40 cities from their list in 2015). The 102 cities include Auckland (New Zealand); Nairobi (Kenya); Oslo (Norway); Seattle (USA) and from Canada: Montreal, Prince George ( B.C.), Winnipeg, and Vancouver. The full report identifies data by type of renewable energy: hydropower, wind, solar photovoltaics, biomass and geothermal. Related, broader reports are: Renewable Energy in Cities: State of the Movement (Jan. 2018), which offers a global overview of local policy developments and documents from 2017, and Renewable Energy in Cities (October 2016) by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
All of these reports are more encouraging than another recent study in the news: “Future heat waves, droughts and floods in 571 European cities”, which appeared in Environmental Research Letters in February 2018. These are warnings we’ve read before, but this study offers unique detail: it names cities that could be expected to experience the worst flooding in the worst-case scenario – Cork and Waterford in Ireland, Santiago de Compostela in Spain – and those that could expect the worst droughts: Malaga and Almeria in Spain. Stockholm and Rome could expect the greatest increase in numbers of heatwave days, while Prague and Vienna could see the greatest increases in maximum temperatures.
Some recent news about Canadian cities:
As the IPCC Cities conference met in Edmonton, the nearby City of Calgary convened its own Symposium as part of the process to develop its Resilience Plan, to be presented to Council in Spring 2018. The website provides overview information and links to documentation, including nine research briefs in a series, Building a Climate-Resilient City: Climate Change Adaptation in Calgary and Edmonton from the Prairie Climate Resilience Centre, a project of the University of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).
Vancouver: The Renewable Cities program at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver recently released two reports from a collaborative project called “Mapping Enabling Policies for Vancouver’s 100% Renewable Energy Strategy”. The Policy Atlas is a brief, graphic guide ; The Dialogue Report summarizes the views and discussion of 19 participants at a workshop held on November 30, 2017 – and attempts to clarify the roles of the federal, provincial, and local governments around issues such as a zero emission vehicles, energy efficiency in housing, land use planning, and electricfication and distributed energy, among others.
Toronto: In February, Toronto City Council approved $2.5 million for its Transform TO climate plan – which is a fraction of the $6.7 million in the budget recommended by city staff. The Transform TO goals include 80 per cent GHG reduction by 2050 (based on 1990 baseline); the website provides documentation and updates.
Finally, the mainstream Globe and Mail newspaper promises a new series of articles focusing on Canadian cities and climate change. The first installment: “Halifax’s battle of the rising sea: Will the city be ready for future floods and storms?” (March 5).