Cities are a central part of the solutions for climate change
Today the OECD is actively working with governments to highlight the role of cities to deliver cost-effective policy responses to climate change. Cities are centers of innovation and can advance clean energy systems, sustainable transportation and waste management to reduce greenhouse gases. With access to up to date climate science, they can also work with scientists and experts to assess impacts and vulnerability, and with local stakeholders to design and implement effective adaptation strategies to respond to unavoidable impacts of climate change. A number of projects at the OECD are advancing the understanding of the roles that cities can play to respond to efficiently and effectively to climate change.
Competitive Cities and Climate Change
This activity addresses green policies for local and regional development such as through renewable energy, public transportation and climate-friendly R&D initiatives. This work stream focusses on urban governance, planning and land use, as well as intergovernmental collaboration which links national strategies to local actions. An International Conference was held in Milan on October 9-10, 2008, which gathered high level representatives from 17 national governments and 10 international organizations as well as top officials from 21 cities including from Toronto, Madrid, Mexico City, Lisbon, Paris, Barcelona, San Francisco and Boston. Following the request of Mayors and Ministers who met in a Roundtable session in Milan, the OECD has agreed to document good practices and begin to measure performance to identify effective and efficient local climate policies as well multi-level governance partnerships. Drawing on this information the OECD will work with national and local government representatives to develop policy recommendations. A workshop will be held in June 2009, in Las Palmas on multi-level governance. An OECD report “Competitive Cities in the Global Economy: Benefits of Local Climate Policies” will be discussed at the next meeting of the Mayors and Ministers OECD Roundtable in November 2009. Bookmark: www.oecd.org/gov/urbandevelopment/milanconference.
Contact: Lamia Kamal-Chaoui (Lamia.Kamal-Chaoui@oecd.org) and see the related web page on Competitive Cities in the Global Economy.
Publications and recent events
OECD Regional development working papers:
- Climate Change and Multilevel Governance
- Competitive Cities and Climate Change
- At the Fifth Urban Research Symposium "Cities and Climate Change: Responding to an Urgent Agenda"; Marseille, France, June 28-30, 2009, the OECD held a special session on Assessing Climate Change Impacts, Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge Risk in Port Cities: A Case Study on Copenhagen on June 29th.
- Nicholls, R., S. Hanson, C. Herweijer, N. Patmore, S. Hallegatte, J. Corfee-Morlot, J. Chateau, and R. Muir-Wood. 2007. Ranking Port Cities with High Exposure and Vulnerability to Climate Extremes: Exposure Estimates. OECD Environment Working Paper 1, ENV/WKP(2007)1. Paris: OECD.
- S. Hallegatte, N. Patmore, O. Mestre, P. Dumas, J. Corfee-Morlot, C. Herweijer, R. Muir Wood. 2008. Assessing Climate Change Impacts, Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge Risk in Port Cities: A Case Study on Copenhagen. OECD Environment Working Paper 3, ENV/WKP(2008)2. Paris: OECD.
- Hallegatte, S., F. Henriet, and J. Corfee-Morlot. 2008. The Economics of Climate Change Impacts and Policy Benefits at City Scale: A Conceptual Framework. OECD Environment Working Paper 4, ENV/WKP(2008)3. Paris: OECD.
Other work on Climate Change in the OECD
• Enhancing Local Benefits of Adaptation & Mitigation Policies
This activity focuses on global-local linkages and assessment of climate policy benefits at local scale, in particular on the avoided impacts on urban infrastructure, people and economies. A first priority is to explore the local-scale economic impacts of climate change, including the impacts of projected changes in extreme weather events. Several working papers are available: a literature review on impacts and adaptation at city scale; a conceptual framework for impact and benefit assessment at urban scale; a ranking of the world’s large cities most exposed to coastal flooding today and in the future; and an in-depth case study on coastal flood risk in Copenhagen. A second in-depth case study on Mumbai is forthcoming. Further work planned in 2009 and 2010 will focus on local co-benefits and strengthening local and sub-national climate policy design and delivery a part of broader national policy frameworks. OECD recently presented elements of this work at COP14 Poznan & SB28 in Bonn. Contact: Jan Corfee-Morlot, email@example.com.
• Adaptation to Climate Change
There is related work on integrating adaptation at city scale in the context of development co-operation: www.oecd.org/env/cc/adaptation. Contact: Shardul Agrawala, Shardul.Agrawala@oecd.org.
• Transportation and Climate Change
The International Transport Forum (ITF) is engaged in many aspects of transport-related climate research and policy-making, including urban travel. In May 2008, the forum organised the world’s largest transport summit around the theme of “Transport and Energy: the Challenge of Climate Change”. Key policy and research findings highlighted the need for a strategic package of policy measures including: technology development, strengthened research into new technology and fuels, increased use of information tech-nology and integrated mobility management as well as a wide variety of non-technology tools with potential to improve economic efficiency and reduce emissions. For cities, the Forum considered measures to encourage travel behaviour change, to promote and enhance public transport and rail service quality, to support for non-motorised means of travel and to manage traffic demand and reduce congestion. Past work has looked at sustainable urban transport policies, company mobility management plans and the potential for policies (e.g. road pricing) to deliver lasting GHG reductions. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org and the International Transport Forum (ITF) web site.
In addition, an OECD Global Forum on Transport and Environment in a Globalising World was held 10-12 November 2008 in Guadalajara, Mexico. This Global Forum featured a session on urban transport problems, inter alia presenting case studies on how selected cities (Mexico City, Santiago, Milan, Berlin and Singapore) have promoted environmentally sustainable transport. www.oecd.org/env/transport/gfsd Contact: Nils-Axel Braathen, nils-axel.braathen[at]oecd.org.