Cities are responsible for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions related to energy production and use. At the same time, metropolitan areas of the world are severely affected by the impacts of climate change. Mainly due to the rapid growth of the population, they also face a series of environmental and socioeconomic impacts that are exacerbated due to climate change. Studies show that local (municipal) governance has enormous potential in contributing to mitigation and adaptation to climate change. However, for greater efficiency, greater integration between the different segments that make up the governance system is necessary. Information taken on the basis of complex systems science, such as urban areas, as well as responsive governance structures, will be needed to develop tomorrow's smart and resilient cities. It is crucial to develop and establish inter and transdisciplinary research structures based on participatory learning that will lead to action.
Science-based information will be required to develop the smart climate change- and environmental-resilient cities of tomorrow. The Klimapolis Laboratory is establishing and developibng a transdisciplinary research structure that can provide such information to the stakeholders and the cities in Brazil. In the medium term, the knowledge and experience of German and Brazilian climate change and environmental research networks will be integrated to address policy-relevant questions related to mitigation of climate change and other environmental impacts. In long term, the Klimapolis Laboratory will serve as a robust basis to answer the future questions related to climate change and environmental impacts, vulnerabilities and adaptation in metropolitan areas of Brazil and also potentially in Latin America.
In urban areas, there is a wide range of stakeholders and issues involved. To develop and deliver climate services in those areas, stakeholders need to be involved in the co-design of service provision. However, this requires the understanding of institutional and sociocultural preconditions that can facilitate interactions between all the sectors and mechanisms. In this context, the structure and governance of a climate service, particularly in urban areas, are important determinants of the effectiveness of the service itself. Also, climate-friendly policies can be developed by local governments if they can be related to local problems and generate social, economic or environmental benefits.
In Brazil, major obstructions still exist in the provision of efficient climate services at local level; basic infrastructures still need to be established. Some reasons for this are a lack of understanding of the climate processes that affect urban areas (in part caused by a paucity of observations), inadequate dissemination of scientific knowledge, conflicts between users and providers of climate information, and lack of action by decision makers and the society at large. Therefore, a large gap in knowledge exists and give the Klimapolis Laboratory an excellent niche to act, also providing the opportunity to become a major player in working with government officials to co-develop policy for resilient cities.