The Story Of Climate Change To Climate Action – four stories from Groningen

Within the light of  June 5th, World Environment Day, SelfCity project is joining the campaign in raising awareness on the role of local community action in environmental thinking in dedicated blog posts.

Doing PhD on a hot topic, such as climate change and local environmental issues is not an easy task. There is a lot at stake. Multiple interests, multiple stakeholders, multiple communities with multiple interests. Local and community energy initiatives are becoming increasingly popular. Only in the Netherlands, there are more than 400 registered initiatives and the number is increasing. While some years ago such initiatives were a source of panic and confusion nowadays it seems that there are institutional and structural resources available to support, minion and develop initiatives in multiple sizes and goals. A question remains, what makes such initiatives distinct?

With colleagues from these countries we are trying to understand better why do local energy initiatives happen and what are the different ways of organizing associated with topics of energy transition, climate change, and local community action. The idea is that we want to build an international comparison which will look at how different local initiatives are functioning and what makes initiatives effective.

My preliminary results show that there are many aspects which make local initiatives effective. Here is a brief summary of the four most important aspects. The first critical aspect asserts that initiatives seek an active partnership between policy makers and rely on advances in technology. The second aspect shows that social dimension of sustainable development is crucial, but it is also a responsibility of the government acting the public interest to lead the response to climate change. The third aspect illustrates that energy initiatives are not consciously green and show links between economic worth and environmental protection. The fourth aspect shows that ideological and moral conviction to societal action can be the main driver of local initiatives in the face of climate change.

Here I gave you only four of possible viewpoints. These aspects might seem complimentary and at the same time contradict each other. I must say the aspects I discuss here are only part of the whole story. The possibilities are endless, and one cannot cover the entire field or every possible initiative. Nevertheless, they provide valuable information about in what people and policy makers should invest in their work. Not only this will contribute to understanding what makes local initiatives work better but it will also help us to rewrite the story fo climate change to climate action.

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Forthcoming books about cities and climate change

We want to present some books about the topics cities and climate change. Some of them will be published soon. More information about the books are available by clicking on the title.

Inclusive Urbanization

Rethinking Policy, Practice and Research in the Age of Climate Change

Edited by Krishna K. Shrestha, Hemant R. Ojha, Phil McManus, Anna Rubbo, Krishna Kumar Dhote

How do we include and represent all people in cities? As the world rapidly urbanizes, and climate change creates global winners and losers, understanding how to design cities that provide for all their citizens is of the utmost importance. Inclusive Urbanization attempts to not only provide meaningful, practical guidance to urban designers, managers, and local actors, but also create a definition of inclusion that incorporates strategies bigger than the welfare state, and tactics that bring local actors and the state into meaningful dialogue.

Building for a Changing Climate

The Challenge for Construction, Planning and Energy

By Peter F. Smith

There is now a practically universal consensus that our climate is changing rapidly, and as a direct result of human activities. While there is extensive debate about what we can do to mitigate the damage we are causing, it is becoming increasingly clear that a large part of our resources will have to be directed towards adapting to new climatic conditions, with talk of survivability replacing sustainability as the new and most pressing priority. Nowhere is this more evident than in the built environment – the stage on which our most important interactions with climatic conditions are played out.

City Futures in the Age of a Changing Climate

By Tony Fry

This book goes beyond current ways that the impact of climate change upon the city are understood. In doing so it addresses climate in a variety of its connotations. It looks to the nomadic behaviour patterns of the past for lessons for today’s population unsettlement, and argues that as human survival will increasingly be linked directly to movement, the city can no longer be defined as a constrained space. The impacts of climate change must be understood as a combination of the actual and the expected, and have to be addressed both practically and culturally.

Low-Carbon Land Transport

Policy Handbook

By Daniel Bongardt, Felix Creutzig, Hanna Hüging, Ko Sakamoto, Stefan Bakker, Sudhir Gota, Susanne Böhler-Baedeker

Practical guide for transport policymakers and planners to achieve low-carbon land transport systems.

Based on wide ranging research, it shows how policies can be bundled successfully and worked into urban transport decision-making and planning strategies.

With case studies from developed and developing countries, it outlines measures for reducing emissions, tailoring these to specific circumstances. It also highlights how greenhouse gas savings are measured, as well as success factors for implementing policies and measures in complex decision-making processes.

For students of sustainable transport, professional planners and decision makers, Low-Carbon Land Transport is an invaluable reference for all those looking to help transport networks flow in a sustainable direction.

Planning for Climate Change

Strategies for Mitigation and Adaptation for Spatial Planners

Edited by Simin Davoudi, Jenny Crawford, Abid Mehmood

Climate change is changing the context of spatial planning and shaping its priorities. It has strengthened its environmental dimension and has become a new rationale for coordinating actions and integrating different policy priorities.

This book sets out the economic, social and environmental challenges that climate change raises for urban and regional planners and explores current and potential responses. These are set within the context of recent research and scholarly works on the role of spatial planning in combating climate change. Addressing both mitigation measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to the effects of climate change, the book provides an overview of emerging practice, with analysis of the drivers of policy change and practical implementation of measures. It scopes planning issues and opportunities at different spatial scales, drawing on both the UK and international experiences and highlighting the need to link global and local responses to shared risks and opportunities.

Don’t Even Think About It

Why Our Brains Are Wired To Ignore Climate Change

By George Marshall

Why, despite overwhelming scientific evidence, do we still ignore climate change? And what does it need for us to become fully convinced of what we already know?

George Marshall’s search for the answers brings him face to face with Nobel Prize-winning psychologists and the activists of the Texas Tea Party; the world’s leading climate scientists and the people who denounce them; liberal environmentalists and conservative evangelicals.