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Extreme Events, Emerging Climate Risks and Vulnerability in Cities -Cascading Effects In an Increasingly Risk Prone World

5 speakers

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Last few years have witnessed an increased frequency of extreme events affecting different parts of the world. While we are collectively addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, only this year, a flurry of extreme events have battered cities across the globe, from the record heat wave in North America, to the flash floods in Western Europe and Cyclones in South Asia to name a few. Not only is the severity of these extreme events increasing but they are becoming more frequent as well. While climate change cannot be attributed directly to a single event, many of these events are along the lines of projections related to climate change. In the light of these, this panel discussion would like to touch upon the ‘more pessimistic’ climate change projections and discuss different types of risks that are likely to emerge in urban areas across the globe, and how the vulnerability to such risks is likely to enhance/diminish. Against this, we would like to share what cities in different stages of their development need to consider to respond better to such challenges in the near and long terms. We would particularly like to focus on the potential systemic and cascading risks of extreme events. Recent severe floods in Western Germany and neighboring areas have unfortunately shown that even systems that appear robust and well planned can be severely impacted by extreme events and trigger cascading effects. While moderate climate change projections are often the basis for debates, we would like to highlight the possibilities that cities might be facing in case some of the more pessimistic climate change projections (from IPCC) start manifesting. By flagging what if for example, 100 years events become 10 year events, what cities are likely to face and how can they incorporate it within their existing responses, we aim to raise awareness and showcase pathways for comprehensive planning. This event is planned as an awareness creating as well as pathway making event that can enable decision makers across scales to be aware of different possibilities and inspire foresight thinking and planning. We will have a diverse group of speakers coming from academia, emerging changemakers, vulnerable groups and practitioners and we aim to showcase possible avenues of future engagement to take the discussions and action further.