Published 27 February 2017
Examining the effects of climate change on urban environments
Climate change is now widely recognised as one of the paramount environmental challenges of our time. As a so-called global issue, the social and political response to climate change has traditionally been seen as a matter for international negotiations and the politics of national governments, transnational corporations and non-governmental organisations. However, over the past two decades it has become clear that climate change is an equally vital urban issue – as centres of population and economic activity, cities are thought to contribute significantly to overall emissions of greenhouse gases on the one hand, and to be vulnerable to the impacts of climate change on the other. Numerous municipal governments, the transnational networks they have formed, and other urban actors, including the business and community sectors, have mobilised to respond to climate change through the city. The significance and potential importance of the urban response to climate change has now become recognised by a range of international organisations and national governments as an “urgent agenda” (World Bank 2010).
What are we to make of this phenomenon, of climate change as an urban issue? In this talk Harriet Bulkeley will explain that the coming of climate change to the city poses three critical questions for the research and policy community: questions of response; questions of justice; and questions of meaning.
About the Speaker:
Harriet Bulkeley is a Professor of Geography, Durham University. Her research focuses on environmental governance and the politics of climate change, energy and sustainable cities.
Harriet has published 7 books, several edited collections and over 50 academic papers. Her recent workbooks includes An Urban Politics of Climate Change (Routledge 2015) and Accomplishing Climate Governance (CUP 2016). She leads the 7.8M Euro H2020 Naturvation project examining the role of urban innovation in the arena of nature based solutions for sustainable development and is extending her work on climate governance through the H2020 ReInvent project examining the politics of decarbonisation beyond the energy sector. Her work also includes research on the politics and practice of smart grids in cities in the UK, Australia and Sweden and with the JPI Urban Governing Urban Sustainability Transitions project work on how urban living laboratories are emerging as a form of sustainability governance.
Harriet has undertaken commissioned research for the European Commission, UN-Habitat and the World Bank. She was awarded the King Carl XVI Gustaf’s Professorship in Environmental Science and a Visiting Professorship at Lund University, Sweden, in 2014, and in 2016 was one of 180 social scientists included in the international Clarivate Analytics/Thompson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list.
Respondent: Robyn Dowling, is Professor of Urbanism in The University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning. Her research focuses on transformations to urban policy in the face of phenomena like climate change and technological disruptions. With Harriet Bulkeley and Pauline McGuirk she has sketched the governance of carbon in Australian cities. Currently she is researching the impacts of new smart-enabled forms of transport like car sharing and autonomous vehicles, and the ways in which smart city strategies are being implemented in locally-specific ways.
Chair: David Schlosberg, Co-Director, Sydney Environment Institute, University of Sydney