Global warming: Mapping local solutions for a global issue

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ImageTo leave Barcelona right when the first kick of the European championship soccer final starts is dumb. Even dumber is to land in Lisbon when Barcelona wins and celebration throughout the city starts. But that's what I did last week and I will not complain… Lisbon is a beautiful town. It is warm but pleasant, Portuguese is soft and musical, and the food is delicious.

Last Thursday, I attended a two-day conference called "Local Climate Change Roadmap" – organized by the city of Almada (10 minutes from Lisbon by river ferry or one and a half hours by car… but that’s only traffic!) and ICLEI, with several local supporters. I gave a talk about climate change at an urban level and in particular about the Primer on Climate Resilient Cities. I also had the chance to listen to all my colleagues and speakers coming from every part of Europe. It was a truly international conference.

Inspirational opening remarks were given by Jeb Brugmann, one of the founders of ICLEI, now with The Next Practice, about the roadmap not just to Copenhagen but through the next decades. He didn’t openly speak about his new book, but the concept of ecological urbanism was the key driver in his roadmap. Then Ralph Sims, from the International Energy Agency (IEA), spoke about renewables and energy efficiency, Joao Corte Real from the University of Evora discussed Portuguese climatic conditions. Memorable and practical presentations from cities all over Europe included one from Bo Frank, one of the most energetic fellows I have ever met and mayor of the fossil fuel-free city of Vaxjo. As he said, it’s the greenest city in Europe. There were also presentations from Berlin, London, the Warwickshire and, of course, several representatives from Portugal and Portuguese cities.

During the conference, well-known professors spoke from several prestigious universities in Europe and there was a presentation of an interesting study to benchmark 32 European cities against sustainable criteria. That includes climate change mitigation done by an Italian research institute (Ambiente Italia), to be soon updated with European funds.

Proficiently organized, this conference has been very interesting. It’s hard to forget last night’s cocktail at the Casa de Cerca, an old white mansion right on the cliff, facing Lisbon at twilight.


Federica Ranghieri

World Bank Program Leader for Sustainable Development for Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti

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