Over 85% of the Brazilian population lives in urban areas as a result of extensive urbanization in recent decades. These densely populated urban areas are the principal nodes emitting air pollutants and greenhouse gases. Despite considerable reductions in emissions during the most recent years, air pollution (especially with respect to ozone and fine particulate matter PM2.5) in Brazil still poses unacceptable risks to humans and the environment and is the top environmental risk factor of premature death in Brazil. Besides, heat waves, drought and flooding represent the major climatic risks that threaten the urban sustainability and the growing population of Brazilian cities. These stressors may be impacted by future changes in the global climate as well as the continued expansion of the emissions in these regions.
Climate change and air pollution are traditionally viewed as two separate arenas for science and regulation. However, the focus has shifted to consider the feedbacks, possible benefits or disadvantages from the interrelated spheres of climate change and air pollution. For e.g. black carbon is considered both air pollutant (as PM2.5) and climate forcing agent. Its reduction would therefore result in co-mitigation of climate change and air pollution. This is easier to accomplish in cities owing to the concentration of emissions and the ability to control the emission sources.
KLIMAPOLIS will operate in diverse urban environments across Brazil (São Paulo, Recife, Natal, and Fortaleza) and focus on the major sources of carbon emission (in particular transport). The wider city-scale boundary source conditions i.e. industry, agriculture, and trans-boundary pollution are taken into account through state-of-the-art modelling tools. A particular innovation is that the climate change and air pollution mitigation options are driven by user needs and tested in real urban environments, taking into account local governance structures.
The major objectives of KLIMAPOLIS are:
- Foster the integration of advanced tools for the assessment, monitoring, modelling – including source apportionment – with innovative technological options and strategies to reduce the carbon footprint and improve the air quality of urban areas.
- Development and application of tools in support of integrated air quality and climate change governance with the aim of designing and implementing adequate abatement strategies and practices.
- To conceptualize, initiate and develop a joint German-Brazilian institute on urbanization and climate change