Cities Alliance Welcomes Inclusion of Cities in IPCC’s Flagship Report
The Cities Alliance welcomes the recent decision by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to pay special attention to the impacts of climate change on cities in its upcoming flagship report.
The IPCC is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation. These assessments provide a scientific basis for governments at all levels to develop climate-related policies, and they underlie negotiations at the UN Climate Conference – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The IPCC’s decision is in response to a targeted campaign from city networks and stakeholders, including over 25 organisations such as ICLEI, C40 and UCLG. The special cities focus will be present in all components of the 6th Assessment Report (AR6), including the main assessment report, the summary for policy makers, the synthesis report and the three AR6 Special Reports. Throughout, the AR6 development process will seek enhanced engagement with urban practitioners.
The IPCC has also decided that an International Scientific Conference on Climate Change and Cities will take place early in the AR6 cycle (late 2017/early 2018), and that a Special Report on Climate Change and Cities will be included in the AR7 (2023-2028 ). An IPCC Special Report on Cities and Climate Change will clarify the potential governance, policy, and financial instruments to support mitigation and adaptation actions in urban areas.
Climate change is a global phenomenon that largely impacts urban life. Rising global temperatures cause sea levels to rise, increase the number of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and storms, and increase the spread of tropical diseases. All these have costly impacts on cities' basic services, infrastructure, housing, human livelihoods and health. At the same time, cities are a key contributor to climate change, as urban activities are major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Estimates suggest that cities are responsible for 75 percent of global CO2 emissions, with transport and buildings being among the largest contributors.