Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Planning by postcode: How prepared are cities for climate change?

Date:
August 12, 2013
Source:
Newcastle University
Summary:
New 'Urban Climate Change Preparedness Score' highlights huge variations in the state of readiness for climate change across the UK, and will now be used to assess the preparedness of cities around the world.

The ability of cities to combat the cause of climate change and to adapt to future weather patterns depends on where we live, new research suggests. Scientists at Newcastle University, UK, have revealed a "postcode lottery of preparedness" across the UK based on what each city is doing to not only reduce greenhouse emissions but also adapt to future climate change and extremes of weather such as flooding and drought.

Devising a new way of ranking cities -- the 'Urban Climate Change Preparedness Scores' -- the team scored 30 cities based on four levels of readiness: Assessment, Planning, Action and Monitoring.

Publishing their results today in the academic journal Climatic Change, they reveal huge variation across the UK and say the same system could be used to rank urban areas around the world.

Newcastle University's Dr Oliver Heidrich who led the research said it highlighted at a glance the "state of readiness" across the country and how prepared we are for the future.

"Of the 30 cities we assessed, all of them acknowledged that climate change was a threat and all except two had a strategy or policy in place to reduce emissions and also adapt to cope better with future weather patterns, in particular flooding," explains Dr Heidrich, a senior researcher in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Newcastle University.

"But a plan is only any good if you implement it and then assess it to see how effective it has been, this requires a long term investment in the strategies.

"We found that in many cities this wasn't happening. In some cases, plans were in place but nothing had been done about them. Many cities published plans and partially implemented associated schemes such as introducing electric vehicles or solar panels as well as making changes to the built environment to reduce the risk of flooding. But very often, no-one was monitoring to see whether it made a difference or had actually made things worse.

"The aim of this research is not to name and shame cities, but if we are to be prepared for the increased occurrences of floods and droughts then we do need to make sure that our climate change policies are in place, that they are working and that the consequences of implementing these strategies are being checked."

The 30 cities chosen for the study were those selected as part of the European Urban Audit database and are representative of urban areas across the UK.

The Newcastle team then applied the scoring methodology to assess the level of preparedness of each of the cities to climate change, rating from 0-3 against both adaption and mitigation.

London was found to have one of the most advanced strategies in place, mitigating the impact on climate change through, for example, energy efficiency and saving, increasing the use of renewables, waste management and the introduction of greener modes of transport. Leicester also scored highly, carrying out rigorous monitoring and providing regular reports on the city's carbon footprints.

Other cities, such as Newcastle, had advanced electric vehicle infrastructures in place while Sheffield and Coventry have established programmes to produce more energy from waste and reduce landfill.

Almost all cities had set targets for reducing CO2 emissions although quite a few would not commit to an actual target, figure or timescale, rendering them meaningless; reduction targets varied from just 10% to 80%. Edinburgh was one of those with a deadline, setting a target of reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2020 and to achieve a zero carbon economy by 2050.

In most cities, adaptation policies lagged behind the mitigation plans. With flooding a key threat in many urban areas -- both now and in the future -- the team showed that many cities were still unprepared to cope with extremes of weather patterns. Although many had flood protection schemes in place, few had assessed whether they were actually effective.

Dr Heidrich adds: "What this research highlights more than anything is the huge variations in the state of readiness for climate change across the UK, and the method of assessing the preparedness of cities can easily be applied to cities in other countries.

"Although cities of all sizes across the UK acknowledge climate change is a threat, there is considerable spread of measures in place and huge inconsistency in policy between areas and against national and international targets.

"Local Authorities are pivotal to the implementation of global climate policy so it is essential that we embed adaptation and mitigation strategies within the urban planning framework."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Newcastle University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Oliver Heidrich, Richard J. Dawson, Diana Reckien, Claire L. Walsh. Assessment of the climate preparedness of 30 urban areas in the UK. Climatic Change, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s10584-013-0846-9

Cite This Page:

Newcastle University. "Planning by postcode: How prepared are cities for climate change?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130812203551.htm>.
Newcastle University. (2013, August 12). Planning by postcode: How prepared are cities for climate change?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130812203551.htm
Newcastle University. "Planning by postcode: How prepared are cities for climate change?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130812203551.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins