Newton Fund

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Protecting cities against the threat of climate change and extreme weather

Protecting cities against the threat of climate change and extreme weather

Megacities cover less than 0.2% of the Earth’s land area but are home to one person in every ten on the planet (World Meteorological Organisation). Most urban dwellers live in developing countries, often in informal settlements vulnerable to hazards, such as air pollution, heatwaves and flooding. As climate change increases the frequency of environmental hazards, cities must find new ways to adapt to protect the lives of urban populations.

Focusing on Shanghai and Hangzhou in the Yangtze River Delta region in China, this UK-China science collaboration has produced new tools to help urban planners and decision makers assess and mitigate the risks, providing a foundation for services to support climate and weather resilient economic development and social welfare.

Strong relationships between the project partners and departmental authorities enabled the team to deliver influential policy briefings and work closely with local authorities directly involved in the municipal governments’ climate policy making process. The Shanghai Municipal Government has included the team’s policy recommendations in its 2017-2035 Master Plan and the implementation planning of the 13th Five Year Plan.

This work enabled Chinese partners to better understand and adopt suitable UK experiences in climate service and risk assessment related to community, economy, health, large infrastructure and the environment. The project has mobilised academia, research institutes and governmental organisations, providing a successful example of collaboration, information and knowledge sharing across governmental departments in Shanghai and Hangzhou. It has also improved understanding of the changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme events in the future – outputs which can be directly used by other countries in Southeast Asia.

"International collaboration in climate change research and learning experiences in climate risk mitigation from London and other exemplary cities help us to design effective policies and technical guides to protect our city from the effects of climate change."

Policy Brief of Shanghai Meteorological Service to the Mayor of Shanghai, Nov 2017


Development of an integrated urban framework for climate services in the Yangtze River Delta region

Project leads: Professor Laixiang Sun, SOAS University of London, UK and Professor Peiqun
Zhang, National Climate Centre of China Meteorological Administration

Delivery partners: Met Office, UK, the Chinese Meteorological Administration and the Chinese
Academy of Sciences Institute of Atmospheric Physics