Climate Change Adaptation in a Warming World

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Many impacts of climate change have already been observed, including extreme weather events, glacier retreat, changes in the timing of seasonal events (e.g., earlier flowering of plants), changes in agricultural productivity, sea-level rise, and declines in Arctic sea ice extent. (Source: Wikipedia)

July 2019 was the hottest month recorded in Europe according to the World Meteorological Organisation, causing 13 deaths.

It is a clear and brutal warning of climate change and brings a realization to the world on its changing weather pattern, according to the August 2019 UN article, “Climate adaptation: setting the stage for transformation.”

Chennai in southern India with a population of over 9 million has experienced a city-wide water shortage, the article says.

World summits on climate change held

World summits are being held, such as the  UN Climate Action Summit, COP25, and UN climate talks, to discuss solutions to climate change and what can individual countries do about it.

Countries have pledged their commitment through the Nationally Determined Contributions, which contains the pledges of countries to the Paris Agreement, and the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), a mechanism that integrates climate risks to national plans and budgets.

The article explains that the urban heat island effect, which is causing higher temperatures and humidity in building-dense areas can be deadly. This occurrence will be exacerbated by climate change, resulting in more health problems and even deaths if not mitigated, it further explains.

There are ways to adapt to higher temperatures according to The Conversation article titled, “Adapting cities to a hotter world: 3 essential reads.”

The following is an overview of what the article suggests cities should do to adapt to a warmer environment.

Offer many cooling options

Aside from emergency cooling centres, cities plant more trees, installing window shades in buildings, using light-coloured materials and paints to reflect heat back, having emergency kits in case of power outages. Not to look for a single best option but needs multiple solutions to tackle the problem.

The US National Weather Service has this reminder during Extreme heat: *Find air conditioning *Avoid strenuous activities *Wear light clothing *Check on family members and neighbours *Drink plenty of water *Watch for exhaustion and heat strokes *Never leave people or pets in a closed car  

Focus upgrades on vulnerable neighbourhoods

Green infrastructure or blue-green infrastructure according to Wikipedia is a “network providing the “ingredients” for solving urban and climatic challenges by building with nature”.

Using the natural water cycles, and functions of the ecosystem particularly to manage and “treat storm-water at its source while delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits.”

Applications of green infrastructures through building green roofs covered with drought-resistant plants for cooling effect that would be most helpful in poor neighbourhoods where temperatures can be very high.

Having vegetation around them can give a cooling effect and reduce their use of air-conditioning.  Use of white paints on their roofs, can reflect the heat back and lowers temperature as well.

Design streets for a changing climate

Design streets for changing climate with a focus on pedestrians not on drivers by ‘designing green streets for bicyclists, pedestrians, bus riders, and residents and as well as for drivers.’

Trees and bushes can work both as a barrier from cyclists and pedestrians from the main roads or highways, as well as absorb carbon emissions from cars and carbon-spewing vehicles.

Pedestrian and cycle lanes can also encourage people to walk or use their bikes to work, thus reducing the number of cars on the road as well as lessening people’s exposures to air pollution, the article says.

Do you have some climate adaptation ideas in your local context?

Have you observed how the climate has changed in your area? Whether it might have gone warmer or colder or it might be erratic variations of climate events, the reality is that the climate is changing.

So, how does your community adapt to this? Please feel free to share some information through the comment form at the bottom of this post. Thank you.

Sources:

Teng, J., Hammett, L., & da Costa, N.L. (2019, August 19). Climate Adaptation: setting the stage for transformation [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2019/climate-adapation–setting-the-stage-for-transformation.html
Jennifer Weeks, (2019, July 19). Adapting cities to a hotter world: 3 essential reads. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/adapting-cities-to-a-hotter-world-3-essential-reads-120634

PHOTO CREDIT: Tonle Sap River – Cambodia by Karl Hipolito

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