Europe's cities plan to combat mounting climate risk

Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:50am EDT
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By Nina Chestney

LONDON (Reuters) - European cities are planning to adapt to climate change as the risks become more severe, a report by UK-based emissions measurement organization the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and consultancy Accenture showed on Thursday.

Cities increasingly have to plan flood defenses, ways to manage water in times of drought, ensure new buildings provide natural cooling to occupants and adapt old buildings and infrastructure to become more energy efficient.

The report surveyed 22 European cities - including Amsterdam, Berlin, Istanbul, London, Manchester, Moscow, Paris and Rome - about their greenhouse gas emissions and climate change strategies.

The report comes less than a week after a United Nations' summit in Rio de Janeiro failed to define clear sustainable development goals and left many convinced that local governments and businesses will have to lead efforts to improve the environment.

The survey found that 17 European cities out of the 22 surveyed, or 77 percent, have completed or almost completed risk assessments to understand how climate change will affect them.

Eighteen of the 22 European cities said they face "significant risks" arising from climate change and 54 percent of them see these risks as "severe" or "very severe".

Due to these risks, cities are increasingly looking at developing adaptation plans. Fourteen European cities, or 64 percent of the 22 surveyed, already have an adaptation plan in place while two more are currently developing them.

"European cities are demonstrating leadership and best practice in managing climate change at the local level," said Conor Riffle, head of CDP's cities program.   Continued...