Current approaches and barriers to climate change mitigation and adaptation The role of planners and policy makers in minimizing the negative
Considering the complexity, uncertainties, and scale of possible climate change impacts, there is agreement that urban planning has the capacity to facilitate the development and implementation of adaptation as well as mitigation strategies (American Planning Association [APA], 2008). The way urban environments develop will determine whether or not a low carbon, climate resilient future, and worldwide sustainable development can be achieved. The land use planning system provides the framework to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions considerably by addressing central issues such as community design, transportation networks and use, and increasing development density (DEFRA, 2005; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], 2014). Therefore, urban planning is a key component because of its comprehensive and long-term approach to the built environment. However, traditional approaches in planning are not enough to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The increasing extreme weather events caused by climate change demand the development of new strategies which improve the resiliency of cities and their inhabitants and identify new innovative opportunities for a sustainable development pattern (Biesbroek et al., 2009). Planners have to make sure that new developments and long-term infrastructure, such as commercial and residential buildings, roads and ports, or water and transport networks, are constructed to endure possible negative climate impacts and weather hazards. In addition, long-lived infrastructure also needs to be designed to decrease energy consumption and GHG emissions of the built environment (McEvoy et al., 2006; Hallegatte et al., 2008; Satterthwaite, 2008). Planning can also play an important role in impacting public behavior, thus slowing the pace of climate change and allowing the development and implementation of adaptation measurements. The highly influential Stern Review (2008) argues that planning can be an important tool for promoting private and public investments towards locations that are less vulnerable to climate risks. Moreover, planning is distinctively qualified to provide comprehensive and long-term approaches that are required to reduce these vulnerabilities through various land use and infrastructure adjustments and
zoning. Although the discussion about the role of spatial and urban planning for responding to climate change has just begun, there is a growing sense that planning will be receiving increasing attention as an important policy instrument for addressing both the causes and impacts of climate change (Bulkeley, 2006; National Research Council [NRC], 2009, PROVIA, 2013).