Cities committed to a healthy urban life

The WMO Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Cities held a series of user-oriented webinars in May, during the corona virus lockdown, for cities committed to a healthy urban life. The World Wildlife Fund Cities hosts the One Planet City Challenge, a friendly competition to mobilize cities to deliver on the Paris Agreement. Each webinar showcased success stories in using atmospheric observations in support of decisions and policies to improve urban air quality and multi-hazard early warnings and to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Topics were addressed from the perspective of technical experts and users, highlighting the results of collaboration and the use of scientific information for decision-making processes.

The first webinar took participants on a journey towards cleaner air in Mexico City. Beatríz Cárdenas, Air Quality Manager, World Resources Institute (WRI), and Michel Grutter de la Mora, Researcher, Center for Atmospheric Sciences, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), presented tools to measure and forecast acute pollution episodes and explained how Mexico City has used atmospheric pollutant observations to improved its air quality.

In the second webinar, Tsz-cheung Lee, Senior Scientific Officer, Hong Kong Observatory, and Ir Maxwell SW Mak, Land Drainage Engineer, Drainage Services Department, Hong Kong, China, explained how technology can help cities anticipate climate hazards such as flash floods and be ready when these events occur.

The third webinar explored the path towards carbon neutrality in Paris, France. Yann Françoise, Head of Climate, Energy and Circular Economy Strategies, Urban Ecology Agency, City of Paris, and Thomas Lauvaux, Research Scientist, Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences (LSCE), elaborated on how atmospheric observations can support climate change mitigation actions. High-resolution monitoring of the atmosphere combined with modelling provides timely and reliable information enabling local governments to size GHG emissions more accurately and take informed decisions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The WMO Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System (IG³IS) supports efforts to use atmospheric observations and analyses for effective GHG emission reduction in cities. It also coordinated a workshop in June on urban GHG monitoring and assessment, which is expected to lay the foundations for the development of an international standard that will help local authorities to efficiently use atmospheric information for carbon neutrality.

The webinars attracted a broad international audience at a time when many are thinking about how we could improve things after COVID-19. They are available online for those who could not attend the live session.


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