The urban world prepares
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced a 250-point plan to prepare the city for the effects of climate change, after direct and indirect losses from Super-storm Sandy amounted to around US$19 billion in damages. The US$20 billion plan covers a range of initiatives, including flood defences, retrofitting old buildings and ensuring the security of the city’s power supply.
Japan’s capital, which is home to about 13 million people, is flanked by rivers to the east and west, and has rivers running through it. It faces 33 trillion yen ($322 billion) in damages should the banks break on the Arakawa River that bisects Tokyo, according to government estimates. That’s more than five times the cost of Sandy in the US. The city has a history of flood defence work going back 400 years. One of the most recent innovations is a 13-year investment that has created a shaft tall enough to house the Statue of Liberty to feed water from five rivers into a reservoir carved underground. In December 2006, the city has adopted a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent by 2020 from the 2000 level. This has included creating a ‘cap and trade’ system for major buildings that requires them to take energy efficiency measures or buy ‘credits’ from those who have.
Berlin’s Step Klima Plan applies measures to combat climate change in all the city’s planning decisions. It aims to stabilise water and ecological ecosystems in the face of changing rainfall patterns, preserve rest and recreation opportunities in nature areas, open spaces and on Berlin’s waterways, prevent an increase in the frequency of sewage overflow and the resulting pollution of Berlin’s water resources and develop a ‘climate friendly’ city.