Global MIT Survey: More Cities Make Climate Change a Major Part of Planning
As we continue receiving global and national reminders of the impending danger of climate change, more cities are realizing that emissions and energy efficiency must have an important role in the planning of their future operations.
According to an Urban Climate Change Governance Survey from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 75 percent of cities worldwide say climate change issues constitute a mainstream portion of their planning. Additionally, 73 percent say climate mitigation and adaption—attempting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adjusting to long-term changes already taking effect—are both major considerations.
“Climate change isn’t an isolated issue,” said Alexander Aylett, report co-author and postdoctoral researcher for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP). “It has large implications for all other aspects of urban life. What we are seeing is cities starting to build it into the DNA of how they approach urban planning.”
The study includes responses from 350 city leaders around the world. They are looking for climate solutions that can create jobs and an economic development value. A successful example is Portland, OR and its Clean Energy Works Portland program, which employed 400 people to reduce home energy use, leading to a carbon-emissions reduction of 1,400 metric tons per year. The city has also developed incentives, training and regulations to help the growth of sustainable construction firms.
While three-quarters of cities across the globe reported incorporating climate change into their plans, that number dipped to 58 percent for U.S. cities. A nearby example comes from Alberta, Canada, where city officials concluded they could save $11 billion in capital costs over the next six decades and $130 million per year in maintenance costs through denser development and taking actions to limit sprawl.
Sixty-three percent of respondents said they have at least one to five staff members dedicated to climate change planning.
Here are some other figures from the MIT survey, produced in conjunction with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI):
- 85 percent of cities have conducted an inventory of local greenhouse-gas emissions
- 15 percent of that 85 percent said they have tried to track the emissions that stem from goods and services consumed within their municipality
- About 25 percent of cities say that local businesses have been crucial to creating and implementing their climate mitigation plans
- 48 percent of cities said nonprofits and other local civil-society groups have been involved in climate planning.
The report was released Thursday as ICLEI supported an urban planning conference in Bonn, Germany.
"[An] important issue raised by this work is what the connection is between framing these responses in terms of climate change and framing them in terms of broader conceptual frameworks, such as sustainability,” said John Robinson, a professor of geography at the University of British Columbia. "[Promoting sustainable development may be] most helpful in mainstreaming climate policy.”
YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE
Disturbing footage of a snake in Goa, India vomiting an empty soft drink bottle highlights the world's mounting plastic pollution crisis.
By Melissa Hellmann
When her eldest son was in elementary school in the Oakland Unified School District, Ruth Woodruff became alarmed by the meals he was being served at school. A lot of it was frozen, processed foods, packed with preservatives. At home, she was feeding her children locally sourced, organic foods.
By James O'Hare
There are 20 million people in the world facing famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen. In developed nations, too, people go hungry. Venezuela, for instance, is enduring food insecurity on a national level as a result of economic crisis and political corruption. In the U.S., the land of supposed excess, 12.7 percent of households were food insecure in 2015, meaning they didn't know where their next meal would come from.
Artists are taking the climate crisis into frame and the results are emotional, beautiful and stirring.
So you've seen the best climate change cartoons and shared them with your friends. You've showed your family the infographics on climate change and health, infographics on how the grid works and infographics about clean, renewable energy. You've even forwarded these official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration graphs that explain the 10 clear indicators of climate change to your colleagues at the office.
As the Trump administration moves full speed ahead on boosting the oil and fossil fuel industry, opposition to increased pipeline construction is cropping up in different communities around the country.
By Simon Evans
Last Saturday, two dead whales washed up on the coast of Suffolk, in eastern England, and a third was spotted floating at sea.
What happened next illustrates how news can spread and evolve into misinformation, when reported by journalists rushing to publish before confirming basic facts or sourcing their own quotes.
By Monica Amarelo and Paul Pestano
Sun safety is a crucial part of any outdoor activity for kids, and sunscreen can help protect children's skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. Kids often get sunburned when they're outside unprotected for longer than expected. Parents need to plan ahead and keep sun protection handy in their cars or bags.
By Joe McCarthy
A lot of people take part in community clean-up efforts—spending a Saturday morning picking up litter in a park, mowing an overgrown field or painting a fence.