International Conference: September 13-14, 2018 in Berlin
The international climate community puts increasing hope into climate solutions at urban scale. Research also increasingly emphasises the role of cities in climate change mitigation. A main trope of research has been identification of climate action in specific cities, through case studies. These empirically-grounded and bottom-up insights contrast with a dominant strand in climate mitigation research that makes use of global models to explore long-term low-carbon futures, where local solutions can often be minimally represented. The time is ripe to put the scientific investigations on urban climate solutions on more systematic foundations by structuring insights on causal interventions and processes across different time scales, individual behaviour and policy choices, and by upscaling urban solutions to a global scale, by typologies or otherwise.
Urban greenhouse gas emissions originate mostly from buildings and transport, and indirectly from the consumption of goods. Obvious intervention points are the land use system, modal shift, and building codes. But a systems approach is needed in finding urban climate solutions- instead of simply adding marginal options, but build on a comprehensive understanding of urban systems, i.e. across different structure, function, processes and actors (Bai et al 2016). Such a comprehensive understanding would not only foster a more causal approach and systems understanding, but also would help designing urban transitions into low-carbon futures. Specific system-relevant issues include cross-sectoral and strategic issues such as the transport/land-use system that is coupled on various temporal and spatial scales; the interaction between technologies and behaviour; and the normative implications of low-carbon urban system solutions. Emerging from all these issues, we can then pose the question of urban-scale transition towards low-carbon and sustainable futures.
The conference is organised by the MCC Berlin, and co-sponsored by Future Earth, the Global Carbon Project, the University of Oxford, and CIRED. Participation in the conference is desirable but not required for submitting a contribution to the focal issue.