Lecture 18: Cities and Climate Change

Professor Arun Kansal, TERI University and Dr. Christopher Doll, UNU-IAS
Prepared by Aditi Madan, Asian Institute of Technology

I had the opportunity to be the MC for the last Lecture of the 2014 Young Researchers’ School at Tongji University in Shanghai. It was delivered by Professor Arun Kansal who talked about the contribution of urbanization to global emissions and changing climate in the context of urban cities. With reference to development of IPCC Chapter, he highlighted the need to understand the complexities of an urban system as well as different approaches, methods and tools used to assess emissions by different cities depending upon their functional classification. The current need is to mitigate the impact of climate change using an innovative yet holistic and integrated perspective to optimize the whole system.

This was followed by an explanation of how spatial and temporal dimensions of cities and its models can assist us to determine measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change as well as how these are influenced by the spread and internal geography of cities. In addition, we also learned how different approaches like consumption based footprint, community wide infrastructure footprint and in boundary can result in variations in how cities contribute to emissions on a relative scale.

In the context of climate change and its impact, research and studies are being undertaken but are found to be limited to a sectoral approach. In order to explain this, Dr. Christopher Doll demonstrated tools developed by UNU for policy making followed by an explanation of urban mobility and its co-benefits. He emphasized how various tools and methods that are being developed can be applied in the urban context.