A study involving UIC Barcelona provides the framework for assessing the integration of climate change mitigation and adaptation in cities

Furthering the integration of climate change mitigation and adaptation policies is one of the major challenges currently facing cities when it comes to developing climate action plans. Lorenzo Chelleri, a lecturer in the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture, recently published, alongside four other international researchers, the paper “Analytical framework to evaluate the level of integration of climate adaptation and mitigation in cities” in the prestigious journal Climate Change.

After two years of research, the study presents an assessment framework that makes it possible to analyse the level of integration of the mitigation and adaptation policies laid out in the cities’ local climate action plans. Recent studies show that the lack of synergies between these two policy areas –mitigation and adaptation– can undermine urban planning, prompting conflicts between objectives and lost opportunities in the struggle against climate change. “Adaptation measures such as the construction of a desalination plant to combat drought could be counterproductive, as the amount of energy they consume generates high CO2 emissions”, illustrates lecturer Chelleri.

In the study, the researchers implemented this evaluation framework in 9 cities around the world: Bangkok, Chicago, Durban, Mexico City, Montevideo, Paris, Seoul, Vancouver and Wellington. Based on the analysis of the climate action plans in place in these urban areas, the researchers hypothesised that cities with longer established climate change planning policies have higher levels of integration between adaptation and mitigation and, as a result, more efficient policies.

The aim of the study, which has been replicated through the analysis of 174 plans which integrate adaptation and mitigation in European cities, is to provide cities support in developing integrated climate plans. “The crucial thing about this evaluation framework is that it could help cities draft their climate action plans and align their strategies with the sustainable development commitments laid out by the United Nations and the Paris Agreement”, concludes the lecturer.

In addition to Lorenzo Chelleri, the study also involves researchers from the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Global Green Growth Institute in South Korea, the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland (Finland), the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (Austria) and the Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand).

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