Are our cities ready for climate change?
Climate Change In December 2015, transport, communication, electricity and even the emergency services were brought to a standstill when floods hit Yorkshire – it was a wakeup call to the UK about the inadequacy of its infrastructure in the light of extreme weather and climate change.
“This is just one example of how infrastructure particularly in cities is interdependent and why a more interconnected approach is required to create resilient infrastructure that can cope with the changes in climate,” says John Dora, chair of the Infrastructure Operators’ Adaptation Forum.
Mr. Dora is also coordinating a team developing an international Adaptation Framework Standard to guide organisations in managing their operations in a way that can adapt to changes in climate. The standard, which will work with any sector, will help organisations understand and cope with the inevitable changes in rainfall, temperature and sea level.
“We need to be thinking about how the infrastructure we put in today, will cope with the climate in 50 years’ time or longer."
“Progress requires a long-term approach,” says Mr. Dora. "We need practices that transcend organisational lifecycles; better informed governance, and different approaches to economics in appraising investment in resilience , are key to this.”
Whilst infrastructure needs to be continually updated, the World Bank estimates that two thirds of the infrastructure that will be in place in 2050 hasn’t even been built yet. This gives the world a great opportunity to set best practices that can create more sustainable and resilient infrastructure built not only to withstand changes in climate, but also to reduce the impact on the environment.