The IPCC Special Report on Cities

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will produce a dedicated special report on cities and climate change as part of its next assessment cycle. In a recent letter to Science, Xuemei Bai discusses current plans for the report and suggests three directions in which the research community can work to help raise awareness, shape policy, and catalyze mitigating and adaptive action. Her suggestions are to emphasize integration, ask new questions, and bring in new expertise. A key recognition is that the risks facing cities are interconnected, nested, compounding, and amplifying. Because of this, efforts to address one hazard often make other hazards worse, and to avoid this fate an integrated, complex systems approach is required.

It seems to me that archaeological studies of past human systems have much to offer this specific area by characterizing how the different components of urban systems affect each other as they adjust to changing conditions over varying time horizons. IPCC reports primarily synthesize existing literature, and that process will start in 2024. So, if any of you have done research that addresses these issues, now is the time to get them published! CfAS is doing its part by partnering with the Amerind to host a working group focused on urban adaptation to environmental change this coming year. Be on the lookout for the request for information!

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