A new collaboration will help Glasgow City Region build resilience, as the whole world is watching the next COP destination. It will involve businesses and communities now facing a higher risk of frequent floods and other extreme weather events.
The Clyde Rebuilt project, formed by an existing group of 15 local organizations called Climate Ready Clyde and EIT Climate-KIC, is part of EIT Climate-KIC Deep Demonstration of Resilient Region and aims to become a ground-breaker. Enabling Glasgow to adapt to climate change by 2030 is much needed, as the new UN agenda confirms.
“Adaptation has always been not quite at the forefront in the journey towards net zero,” says James Curran, chair of Climate Ready Clyde. “I think this is definitely changing, as there is a lot of climate damage already happening and the message is coming hard. It’s often said that nations claim, but regions and cities deliver. That’s what we are about.”
Data shows the present scenario is unsustainable. It is estimated that 50 properties were flooded during the 2015 flood event and, in the absence of specific insurance data, unit damage costs of £36,600 and £11,250 have been used for residential and non-residential property respectively. According to a report, “it is very likely that the true costs – based on complete datasets of property damage, transport impacts and emergency service expenditures – would be closer to £10 million.”
Clyde Rebuilt is bringing together community groups, local councils, universities, businesses and government agencies – who will collaborate to identify a range of joined-up actions. The new collective will be based on the idea that climate change can best be tackled if different groups from one city or region join forces to find solutions to their specific problems.
“It is hard for communities and businesses to act and understand what those implications mean for their places,” Kit England, Climate Ready Clyde manager at Sniffer, explains. “But the regional transition has to be fair, just and inclusive. Doing that well requires everyone to be able to have a say in that process.”
Clyde Rebuilt is now pooling the knowledge of people and organizations across Glasgow City Region to identify and understand the barriers to adaptation. They will then use funding calls to gather innovative solutions to floods and other climate-related events, while developing interest from funders, investors and philanthropists.
Local culture is also going to be involved. For instance, Creative Carbon Scotland have begun to engage with organizations like Glasgow Women’s Library (the only museum in the UK dedicated to women’s lives and achievements), Rig Arts (a socially engaged arts company in Inverclyde) and Lateral North (an architecture practice working region-wide).
Becoming climate ready is particularly important for the most vulnerable and young people. Those communities also have unique knowledge, perspectives, energy and networks that are essential to successful systemic change.
“To build deep-rooted resilience, we need to change across socio-economic-political-environmental systems and that means we are developing innovations in this way,” the project lead at EIT Climate-KIC, Ellie Tonks, says. “Together, we are paving the way for practically what it means to work deeply on climate resilience in a region. And that is paving the way for the Adaptation Mission and the EU Green Deal.”
Some results are expected for the beginning of next year, when preparation for the delayed COP26 should start.
England explains that this “early learning is helping the European Commission achieve the Green Deal – which includes an adaptation mission with a commitment to support 200 regions across Europe to go through a similar process.”
“The themes for next COP are related to our agenda, around adaptation and resilience, nature-based solutions and finance,” England adds. “We are conscious that the world will be looking at what we are doing and therefore our responses need to be at the global leading edge of that to inspire others to act in the same way.”