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C40 Launches City Climate Change Hazard Taxonomy for Public Comment

Today, at the UNISDR World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, C40 officially launched for public comment the City Climate Hazard Taxonomy, a structured description of the key climate hazards that cities are facing. The Taxonomy was developed by C40 and ARUP with funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Cities are key actors in building climate resilience because they are on the frontlines of climate change impacts. Cities are taking effective, direct action in adapting to a changing climate and are increasingly connected through C40 networks to find common solutions.  Indeed, the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report – Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability states that action in urban centers is essential to successful global climate change adaptation.

As part of C40’s commitment to help cities reduce their climate risk, we have developed the City Climate Hazard Taxonomy to establish a clear and concise lexicon of the climate hazards that cities face today, and how those hazards may change in the future. We are giving cities a common language with which to discuss, assess and report on action relating to climate change adaptation.

The Taxonomy builds upon the UN Disaster Risk Reduction classification of hazards and draws specific focus to the city context and the effects of climate change.  It will support city adaptation in the following ways:

  • Clarifying the range of climate hazards that cities face, and the relationships between hazards.
  • Providing the basis for scoping hazards as part of the risk assessment process.
  • Structuring the collection of data from cities about the hazards they are facing and the actions they are taking in response to specific hazard types.
  •  Enabling stakeholders to ‘tag’ or ‘label’ case studies or other materials to streamline searches for relevant information.
  • Driving the use of consistent and clear terminology among stakeholders working on city adaptation and climate resilience.

The Taxonomy is a first step in development of a broader work program that aims to improve and accelerate local urban adaptation efforts, and drive global collaboration among cities by tracking hazards from changing climate, as well as city responses.

Already the Taxonomy is being used to support the inclusion of adaptation goals in the Compact of Mayors the world’s largest cooperative effort by mayors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, track progress and prepare for the impacts of climate change. It offers a mechanism to structure the collection of data from cities about their planning and action to improve city resilience to and reduce vulnerability to climate change.

C40 is actively looking to collect feedback from city practitioners and partners on the Taxonomy design and content.  We are also interested to hear from the broader community.  If you would like to provide comments on the document, please send them to research@c40.org before 30 April 2015.