Working under the umbrella of C40 Cities, an international collaborative of cities working to assess and reduce their climate risk impacts, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and former president Bill Clinton are launching a climate change adaptation and resiliency measurement program aimed at identifying the cities most at risk. Clinton and Bloomberg announced the initiative on Monday at the midyear meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.
The new effort will work alongside a separate and ongoing c40 initiative that now accounts for the greenhouse gas emission for 75 percent of C40 member cities. The new program adds a "resiliency yardstick" to help governments and insurers assess and plan for future damage and what specific areas and cities are most vulnerable to the worst damage.
As we've written about in past articles, cities are at the nexus of change and effective action; planning and implementing strategies at the regional and municipal level can be the most effective means in many cases of protecting citizens from climate disruption and preparing for the future.
Bloomberg estimates that at least 500 million people are affected by climate to varying degrees within 63 C40 partner cities across the globe:
"Cities can't afford to close their eyes and hope for the best," he said. "We just have to face up and respond to all the risks that we face," he said, listing more intense storms, heat waves, droughts and floods in his remarks. "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it."
Quantifying risks and possible adaptive responses within a common framework will give lenders and insurers better information to defend and protect vulnerable populations and infrastructure, says Bloomberg, citing how work done in the past decade in New York City helped mitigate the destruction wrought by Superstorm Sandy.
Also on hand at the event was Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio de Janeiro, where he spoke of the extreme risks of the people living in Shantytowns (favelas) throughout the city. "There's no way to save those lives in a big flood," Paes said, adding that he hopes the new resiliency index will help move those in areas of highest risk.
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