Cities given a seat at climate change summit

The IPCC’s latest climate change summit is underway in Edmonton, and this time cities rather than nations have been given a seat at the negotiating table.

The three-day Cities and Climate Change Science Conference opened on Monday in the Canadian city of Edmonton. Run by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the conference brings together climate scientists and city planners to start charting a global roadmap on how cities can best battle climate change, reports the Thomas Reuters Foundation.

It is also the first time that cities rather than nations have been offered a seat at the negotiating table.

“What this will do … is significantly advance the science that mayors and city governments need on which to base their actions,” said David Miller, a former Toronto mayor and North America’s director for the C40 Cities network, one of the organizers of the summit.

Miller told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview that the IPCC’s decision to pay special attention to cities was long overdue.

“It would have been helpful to have this kind of science ten years ago. But the good news from my perspective is that city leadership is both acknowledged and welcomed now.”

Cities have long been at the forefront of climate action, but the new momentum to bring together urban leaders and climate scientists comes at a pivotal time when many cities “urgently” need to replace ageing infrastructure or build new infrastructure to cope with the influx of people to urban areas.

“City officials need to build in climate-resilient concepts as they plan for this cycle of critical infrastructure investment,” Henry David Venema of the International Institute for Sustainable Development told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Around 750 delegates from about 80 countries are expected to travel to Edmonton to attend the IPCC summit.

Image credit: Jeff Wallace via Flickr

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