Climate change science that is shaping urban policy, and the future of our cities

Glasgow, United Kingdom (November 11, 2021): Today, several of the world’s leading climate change scientists came together with city and business leaders, global NGOs and national governments to announce a new initiative, the Summary for Urban Policymakers (SUP) that will present the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments in accessible and targeted summaries that can help inform action at the city scale.

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The IPCC is now in its 6th Assessment cycle (IPCC AR6) and is in the process of releasing a series of three reports from its Working Groups on Physical Science, Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, and Mitigation, followed by a Synthesis Report, over 2021-2022.

The SUP will convene IPCC report authors acting in an independent capacity with local government officials, national governments and business communities through a partnership with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy’s networks of cities, the Resilience First business network, the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) in collaboration with GIZ, and led by the Resilience Shift. The SUP initiative will develop a companion series, distilling international climate change science for the urban context, and to be authored by a group of these same scientists in collaboration with cities and businesses in every region around the globe.

The AR6 SUP series aims to build understanding around the need to move swiftly to prioritise urgent transformation and radical collaboration. It will extract and summarize relevant elements of the full IPCC reports, and will be published as a four-volume series over the course of the 2022 calendar year culminating in a report to be released at COP 27.

Through a series of virtual and in-person convenings, city officials, national government representatives and business leaders will engage with the AR6 SUP authors, operating in an independent capacity, to explore additional opportunities for collaboration and co-creation – filling gaps in the available city-scale science and advancing solutions at scale across multiple geographies, using the SUP series as the evidence base for action.

This co-creation process with policymakers and IPCC scientists will result in a succinct, regionally-specific and policy and action-relevant compendium of 1) the physical aspects of climate change, 2) adaptation measures that can enable long term, equitable sustainability, and resilience in our world’s cities, and 3) opportunities to mitigate climate change impacts in urban areas – large and small.

This project builds on a similar effort conducted in 2018 to develop a Summary for Urban Policymakers of the IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 C.

The AR6 Summary for Urban Policymakers series is supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), The Resilience Shift and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.

IPCC Authors Panmao Zhai, Debra Roberts, Jim Skea, Aromar Revi:
“The Summary for Urban Policymakers initiative announced today will provide cities and businesses with a clear and accessible view of the findings of the IPCC’s main assessment reports. This collaboration between IPCC authors and practitioners from all regions of the world demonstrates how science and practice can in combination provide solid evidence to support climate action.”

German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU): “Climate science must be accessible to urban policymakers, because without them, there will be no limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Therefore, we are looking forward to supporting the Summary for Urban Policymakers initiative. Bringing together and collaborating with actors from various levels of governance, this next SUP series will be even more valuable than the 2018 SR 1.5 SUP.”

Bill Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy Board Member: “City climate action needs to be based on science, and the Summary for Urban Policymakers project will provide key evidence to help advance sustainable, resilient, just and equitable infrastructure projects in urban areas around the world.”

Sharon Thorne, Chair of the Global Board of Directors, Deloitte: “As the world continues to experience disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic, how we shape our future investment in cities and their infrastructure, alongside recovery packages, will be critical for scaling up tangible action on climate change. This investment will be most effective if led by the science and designed by policymakers and business leaders who consciously put decarbonisation and the need to build resilience into every aspect of their plans and investment strategies.”

The Resilience Shift
The Resilience Shift was created by two highly respected global firms – Lloyd’s Register Foundation and Arup. As the global hub for resilience, its mission is to help ensure the safety and continuity of the critical infrastructure systems and services that make our lives possible. It is working globally to help define this and provide pathways from theory to practice, as a think tank, a grant-making body, and a convening network. It is one of the three managing partners behind the first ever Resilience Hub at COP26.
Resilience First is a highly respected business-oriented membership organisation, created by London First and supported by blue-chip Champions and key stakeholders in a cross-section of industry sectors, with a mission to advance resilience best practice across urban business communities.

Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM)
GCoM is the largest global alliance for city climate leadership, uniting a global coalition of over 11,000 cities and local governments and 100+ supporting partners. The cities and partners of GCoM share a long-term vision of supporting voluntary action to combat climate change and towards a resilient and low-emission society. GCoM serves cities and local governments by mobilizing and supporting ambitious, measurable, planned climate and energy action in their communities by working with city/regional networks, national governments, and other partners to achieve our vision. Led today by UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions Michael R. Bloomberg and European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans, the coalition comprises cities across six continents and 142 countries, representing over one billion people or more than 13% of the global population.
To learn more about GCoM, please visit our website, or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS)
The Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) is a leading urban knowledge institution in the global south. It is India’s first prospective interdisciplinary national university that focuses on its ongoing urban and development transformation. IIHS faculty work on the convergence of research, policy and practice at the intersection of sustainability science, climate science and new urban science.
IIHS has one of the largest concentrations of IPCC authors in a single South Asian institution, with leadership positions in chapters across three major reports over the AR5 and AR6 cycles, and two SR1.5 derivative reports – the Summary for Urban Policymakers and GCF supported Summary for Financial Decision Makers. IIHS faculty have been deeply involved in intergovernmental processes including the framing and negotiation of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework and the Paris Climate agreement.

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