Planning response urged on extreme weather effects

Land-use planning can help combat threats from extreme weather induced by climate change, an international think-tank has concluded.

Green spaces: can help mitigate climate change impact
Green spaces: can help mitigate climate change impact
An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report includes land-use planning and ecosystem management and restoration among a list of measures that can reduce vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

"Climate proofing" of infrastructure and improved enforcement of building regulations are cited as other "low regrets" measures that command high levels of public support. The IPCC says such measures are the "starting point" for addressing projected trends towards more extreme climates.

The report says it is likely that Europe will experience more frequent, longer or more intense heatwaves, while an increase in the number of warmer days and nights is "very likely". Creating more green space in cities offers one way of mitigating the impact, it proposes.

The scientists say there is "limited to medium" evidence to assess the scale and frequency of flooding arising from climate change, partly because changes in land use and engineering mask the effects.

However, they say that a mean sea level rise is "very likely" to mean more extreme high water levels on coastlines. "There is high confidence that locations currently experiencing adverse impacts such as coastal erosion and inundation will continue to do so in the future due to increasing sea levels," the report concludes.

"We hope this report can be a scientific foundation for sound decisions on infrastructure, urban development, public health and insurance, as well as for planning - from community organisations to international disaster risk management," said Chris Field, co-chair of one of the two IPCC working groups that produced the report.

The report was approved by member governments of the IPCC meeting in Kampala, Uganda. Another working group co-chair, Qin Dahe, said: "There is high confidence that both maximum and minimum daily temperatures have increased on a global scale due to the increase of greenhouse gases."

Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation is available here.

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