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OU Academic contributes to scoping new special report on climate change

A man wearing a red top attempting to cycle a bike through knee high flooding

Dr Arabella Fraser, Senior Lecturer in Development, was among UK experts nominated by UK government department BEIS to participate in the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s scoping exercises for a new special report on cities and climate change. The special report is the only one to accompany the new assessment cycle underway by the IPCC, and will be released in 2027.

In March, Arabella acted as a UK representative in an IPCC webinar, involving 1300 nationally-nominated climate experts from all parts of the globe. The webinar aimed to scope opinions on the most important climate issues facing cities, key knowledge advances and gaps, the types of knowledge most useful to stakeholders, and how to best structure the report.  The results were then taken into a smaller drafting meeting to decide the outline of the report, which will be approved by government representatives in July.

Describing the experience of the webinar, she said “This was a fascinating process to be a part of, and to witness how the IPCC is attempting to incorporate a diverse and growing knowledge base about the causes and consequences of climate change in cities.”

Faced with such a large group, IPCC rapporteurs used a number of online techniques to elicit experts’ opinions around the key questions, including polls, small group discussions, chat boxes and report backs by dedicated note takers.

Arabella continued: “The consensus about the urgent need to adapt to, and mitigate, climate change in cities was striking – with heat and flooding listed as top critical issues. As well as the need for more and more relevant climate modelling data, many of us were also key proponents for a strong focus on governance and equity in the report.  However, appraising the discussions and the participants in the webinar, bringing in knowledge from non-English speaking academic communities, and communities and policy-makers themselves, is still a key challenge going forward, as is ensuring the report hits the right audiences to catalyse much deeper and quicker action on climate change in cities.”   

Further readings

IPCC meets in Latvia to draft outline of Special Report on Climate Change and Cities (IPCC Website)
The road ahead for the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Cities in AR7 (YouTube video)

Image insert: Flood on Street in Town (c) Dibakar Roy

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