Mitigation co-benefits of climate change adaptation: A case-study analysis of eight cities

Elsevier, Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 77, February 2022
Boyd D., Pathak M., van Diemen R., Skea J.

This research explores the approaches eight cities – Durban, Cape Town, London, Manchester, Surat, Indore, Montreal, and Vancouver – are taking to plan for mitigation co-benefits of adaptation strategies. The approaches set out in city adaptation plans are analysed and compared to provide insight into the uptake of mitigation co-benefits in terms of the extent to which they are strategically planned for and the types of measures utilised. The research also identifies common barriers cities face that prevent the implementation of co-benefit approaches. Finally, drawing on approaches taken by the cities that comprehensively plan for adaptation-mitigation co-benefits, three actions are outlined to serve as recommendations for cities to help catalyse the uptake of co-benefits and avoid trade-offs in adaptation planning. Delivering mitigation co-benefits of adaptation actions was a strategic aim of five of eight cities. Four of these cities comprehensively identified mitigation co-benefits of planned adaptation measures. Certain types of co-benefits were more commonly utilised by cities, such as ecosystem-based strategies and building design measures. The alignment of adaptation and development goals is a more common aim than the alignment of adaptation and mitigation. Incentives to meet multiple policy priorities, reduce costs, and increase resource efficiency can deliver co-benefit approaches that cover adaptation, mitigation, and development goals.