International experts find that climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies are poorly and insufficiently integrated across European cities’ climate plans

A study recently published in the scientific journal Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, in which the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture lecturer Lorenzo Chelleri took part, assesses the level of integration between climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in 147 climate action plans developed by European cities, from among more than 800 climate plans existing in 2017. The results of the study, entitled Integration of mitigation and adaptation in urban climate change action plans in Europe: A systematic assessment states that the maximising of the synergies and benefits of this combined approach is “key” for effectively combating the effects of climate change and finds that, unfortunately, institutions are lacking in capacity to coordinate and address this integration.

“It is common to see climate change adaptation plans that propose, for example, the installation of desalination plants to cope with drought or the construction of large infrastructures to protect cities from the effects of floods. However, these actions elude the fact that of having a huge energy cost, and also generate considerable greenhouse gas emissions, thus being counterproductive for the mitigation goals.”

This study is the result of the application of a framework for assessment of the proposed climate plans, published a year ago by authors from different universities including the lecturer Lorenzo Chelleri. “The potential application of this tool, for assessing the synergies between adaptation and mitigation in climate plans, is a huge step forward for guiding climate planning processes toward the model of climate urbanism which is much needed. This has begun to be implemented in cities such as Barcelona, which has just published its Climate Emergency Declaration, and which hopes to fast track the implementation of its own Climate Plan.” However, as the lecturer explains, “the climate emergency entails the challenge of addressing an urgent and integrated urban transformation, which must be fair and adaptive, and not just focused on reducing emissions.” 

In November last year, students of the Master’s in City Resilience Design and Management, directed by Lorenzo Chelleri, took part in an international workshop developed by the Master’s programme, which involved more than 40 experts from different countries and whose objective was to develop a methodological guide for the implementation of synergies between adaptation and mitigation policies as a basis for implementing climate emergency plans in an integrated manner.

Picture by ©Luca Micheli

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