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How can innovation help transform climate emergency declarations in to real actions?
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How can innovation help transform climate emergency declarations in to real actions?

climate emergency declarations


climate emergency declarations
© Karen Foley

Associate Professor at The University of Texas, Dr Xander Wu Canadian Centre for Climate Change and AdaptationClimate Smart Lab is headed by, which invents smart technologies to support climate change adaptation at local and regional scales. To transform the symbolic declarations about climate emergency into concrete actions, we need a system to address these issues.

As climate change’s effects become more apparent around the globe, it is becoming more urgent to make concerted efforts to reduce the worst effects. Here at the Canadian Centre for Climate Change and AdaptationUniversity of Prince Edward IslandDr. Xander Wang is the Climate Smart Lab’s leader. He is developing smart technologies to support climate adaptation at both regional and local scales. To help policy makers make the best decisions about how to protect their local communities from future hazards, advanced toolsets are being developed based on regional climate modeling, hydrological and flood modelling as well as geospatial modelling. climate-related disasters.

Climate awareness at both the regional and local levels

Although there is an established common sense about global warming and climate change, most people around the world still don’t have a thorough understanding of climate change Their own communities are impacted. For example, people who live inland usually don’t care about sea level rise, while people in the south are unlikely to understand the implication of the shrinking sea ice to the far-north communities unless they visit there in person. This is why people choose to ignore climate change in their daily decisions and actions because they often think global climate change is taking place in somewhere else and is “remote” from their own communities.

Evidently, the lack of awareness about climate change impacts at local and regional scales is one reason why there has been no action to address the recent climate emergency declarations.

Dr Wang’s research focuses on developing a novel modelling and impact assessment framework to improve the understanding of climate change impacts at local communities, by using the state-of-the-art technologies in high-resolution climate modelling, GIS, remote sensing, geospatial data analysis, citizen science, climate monitoring, and social media. Regional climate models (e.g. PreCIS, RegCM and WRF, and MPAS), and statistical downscaling methods (e.g. rSCAHigh-resolution climate change scenarios can be created at the community level using a variety of geospatial technologies (e.g., ). Web-based geospatial tools are used to create risk maps. These maps help visualize the impacts of climate changes (e.g., sea rise, floods, droughts and wildfires) to increase public awareness of local climatic change. To increase community participation in data collection, knowledge building and climate change mitigation, several citizen-science tools are being developed (Figures 1-3).

climate emergency declarations
Figure 1. Figure 1. This GIS-based and web-based app combines citizen science and climate data into a user-friendly interface. It aims to increase community involvement in data collection, knowledge building, and local climate change. It is now available for the public.
climate emergency declarations
Figure 2. The PEI Climate & Weather App. This web-based and GIS-based app offers
More than 100 weather stations across PEI report real-time weather conditions.
climate emergency declarations
Figure 3. Figure 3. This web-based GIS-based and web-based app monitors the ocean levels in PEI and can automatically alert you of potential storm surge events. It is freely available to the public.

Simulated floods from the coast and inshore

Global warming has undoubtedly increased extreme precipitation and caused unprecedented sea-level rise around the globe. This is particularly true for coastal communities that have been suffering from the unprecedented threats. Coastal-inland flooding and coastal erosionOne of the most pressing questions in the world today is how to protect local communities from coastal erosion, and build climate-resilient communities along the coast.

Dr Wang is currently working in the Climate Smart Lab of UPEI to develop a state-of the-art laboratory-scale coastal inland flood simulation platform (see figure 4) that will allow holistic flood risk assessment. This platform will simulate the combined effects from rising sea levels, intensified thunderstorm surges, and increasing floods due to intense rainfall. The platform can be used to support coastal adaptation planning, evaluation of different coastal protection strategies, and operational and emergency management for flooding events.

climate action
Figure 4. Illustration of the laboratory scale coastal-inland flood simulation platform that is being developed at UPEI’s Climate Smart Lab, Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation.

Realizing climate emergency declarations

Hundreds of governments around the globe have declared states of emergency due to the rapidly changing climate. The declarations of climate emergency, however, are symbolic gestures compared to the declarations made of public health emergency by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to global lockdowns. There are multiple reasons there are not to take any real action towards climate emergency.

  • There is a lack of awareness about both the opportunities and the challenges of future climate changes at local scales.
  • Insufficient understanding of the economic feasibility and viability of potential technologies for changing climate conditions, or lack of sustainable technologies to change them.
  • Ineffective policies and lack of societal engagement are two of the main obstacles to the implementation of new technologies.

The symbolic declarations of climate emergencyThese issues must be addressed in a systematic way to make them real.

Dr. Wang leads an interdisciplinarity team of researchers in the fields of climate change modelling, impact assessment, energy economics, climate policies, and climate policy to develop a systematic modeling and analysis framework to identify and promote effective climate actions. This innovative framework will target specific economic sectors and local communities that can take immediate action, as opposed to existing frameworks and methodologies that are focused on high-level policy analysis and large-scale impacts assessment. The framework can be used to:

  • Assess the socioeconomic benefits and future climate change impacts at local scales.
  • Identify and evaluate economically viable technologies and solutions to climate mitigation and adaptation, both from a near-term and long term perspective.
  • Encourage immediate actions through effective policies, and societal engagement.


Please note that this is a commercial profile

© 2019. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license

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