City Mayors’ Panel Discussion
How Cities Are Leading on Green Roofs and other Climate Change Adaptation Measures
Frustrated by the lack of progress in reaching international agreement on tackling climate change and global sustainability issues, city leaders and citizens have become increasingly interested in action at the local level.
In 2010 Bonn in Germany hosted the first Resilient Cities event – the World Congress on Cities and Adaptation to Climate Change – attended by 500 participants from cities on all continents. Copenhagen, which is hosting this year’s World Green Roof Congress, was represented. This event has been followed in 2011 and 2012, with increasing interest.
The Resilient Cities 2010 produced the Bonn Declaration of Mayors, which was written by civic leaders during the Mayors Adaptation Forum and was considered at the time to be the most strident international response from local governments to the failed UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) of 2009. In parallel, Mayors designed a roadmap for urban climate adaptation. The Bonn Declaration make it clear that many cities around the world are already developing and implementing climate change adaptation strategies.
One of the easiest ways that communities can make their own neighbourhoods more resilient is to increase the amount of soil and vegetation around them. This can involve traditional measures like tree planting, but also more recent ideas like rain gardens and green roofs. Green roofs are particularly effective because they are close to where people live and work, helping us to stay cool in heat waves and soaking up some of the rain that is becoming an increasing problem when it comes in heavier and heavier bursts.
The World Green Roof Congress 2012, which is being hosted by the City of Copenhagen (which has its own ambitious target to become carbon neutral by 2025) brings together leaders to discuss how their own city is using green roof policy and implementation to address the issues of climate change adaptation and sustainability. The Congress will include an exciting session where city leaders will describe their own projects and debate the way forward. Leaders from Copenhagen will be joined by officials from Portland (Oregon), Paris and Chicago with others interested in coming. We are looking forward to what will be this fascinating aspect of this year’s congress and are looking forward to seeing you there.