Bridging urban climate action with science: Insights from a conversation with Şiir Kılkış

In a world grappling with the complex challenges of urban development and climate change, the future depends on innovative, collaborative solutions that bring together a wide range of perspectives. Dr. Şiir Kılkış spoke at a recent online event co-hosted by the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and UN-Habitat, offering a compelling look at the intersection of cities and climate change. Kılkış, Vice Chair of IPCC Working Group III, emphasized the crucial role academics play in supporting cities as they navigate climate challenges and highlighted opportunities to drive sustainable urban progress.

The IPCC Special Report on Climate and Cities
The importance of academic contribution context cannot be overstated. Since a significant portion of global CO2 and methane emissions originates from cities, providing actionable scientific research and support is crucial to guide the transition towards sustainability. Kılkış emphasized this point in the online event, stating, “Putting our knowledge and skills into action to support cities is part of our broader responsibility as researchers.”

Siir Kilkis shares her insights on the pivotal role of academics in driving sustainable urban progress during an event co-hosted by the Global Covenant of Mayors and UN-Habitat.

Kılkış also discussed the forthcoming IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Cities, highlighting its potential to deepen our understanding of how urban systems intersect with climate challenges. “There is much more that we actually know about opportunities in cities and urban systems now,” she noted. “But there are still many gaps to address.” The IPCC Special Report aims to gather and synthesize research from a variety of disciplines, including urban planning, engineering, social sciences, environmental sciences, and public policy. By drawing on this diverse research, the report could provide comprehensive recommendations for urban planning, governance, and policy development, guiding cities worldwide as they address climate change with precision and urgency.

Advancing knowledge at the 2024 Innovate4Cities Conference 
To address climate change, Kılkış explains that this does…“require more integrated knowledge production to close these gaps on city-focused climate science and also it’s very important the cross-sectoral options to accelerate climate city action.” In anticipation of the IPCC Special Report, the 2024 Innovate4Cities Conference (I4C24) is a key opportunity to advance such knowledge at the intersection of cities and climate change. The conference, taking place in Montréal, Canada during the week starting 9 September 2024, will provide a creative space to discuss and exchange views on challenges, solutions, and pathways forward – inclusive of the regional sensitivities critical to fair and inclusive climate action.

Listen to the 30 minute conversation with Siir Kilkis who joined Cathy Oke to discuss the critical role of academia in advancing urban climate action and upcoming opportunities to accelerate climate city action.

The insights and discussions generated at the Innovate4Cities Conference will provide crucial perspectives from a wide range of stakeholders, and will help to inform the global discourse of climate and cities. With around 65% of the 169 targets of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals requiring the engagement of local and regional governments, I4C24 is going to be a crucial forum for dialogue and insight to advance climate action – with a focus on sharing regionally-grounded knowledge needed to inform the global discourse on climate change and cities, regardless of the language of publication.

Ultimately, success in addressing urban climate challenges hinges on the ability to collaborate, innovate, and act decisively. As Kılkış explained during the online event, academics have a crucial role to play in addressing climate change. By coming together at events like the 2024 Innovate4Cities Conference, it is possible to drive forward meaningful change and pave the way for a sustainable urban future.

For those interested in submitting a session abstract to be considered for the Innovate4Cities Conference, the deadline for submissions has been extended until 24 May 2024, find out more information on the call for sessions abstract page.

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