2018•07•17 TokyoOn 6 July 2018, UNU-IAS and IGES jointly organized a public seminar on Climate Change, Globalization and the Vulnerability of Cities. The seminar included a keynote lecture from Professor William Rees as well as an interactive panel discussion to share opportunities, challenges, and best practices for cities in addressing the impacts of climate change and globalization and accelerating actions locally, nationally, and globally.
Kazuhiko Takemoto, Director of UNU-IAS, gave opening remarks that stressed cities as the key to addressing climate change issues and the importance of cities in driving efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Masahiko Hirao, Professor at the University of Tokyo, added that urban planning, infrastructure development, and sustainable lifestyle are indispensable to realize sustainable consumption and production in cities.
Yuko Nishida from the Renewable Energy Institute presented on energy consumption and production issues and progress in Japan in her introductory speech. She also pointed out that there is a necessity for drastic energy transition in Japan and opportunities for cities to lead the efforts in reducing emission by taking small-scale initiatives to shift energy policies toward sustainability.
In his keynote lecture, William Rees, Professor Emeritus and former Director of School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia, explained the linkages among climate change, globalisation, and the uncertain future of cities. He stressed the importance of changing the economic and social paradigm of growth from GDP-oriented to biophysical capacity of planet-oriented in order to achieve sustainable production and consumption, and encouraged all stakeholders to focus on common issues and share interests to allow discussion to move forward.
During the panel discussion that followed, Yasuhiko Hotta of IGES highlighted the roles of networks, experts, and ICT to advance local circular economy in support of SCP. Yasushi Umeda from the University of Tokyo argued that guidelines are needed to shift the mindset of policymakers and society towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Masachika Suzuki of Sophia University and UNU-IAS pointed out that de-urbanization could have a positive impact to revitalize local economy and address people’s mobility.
The public seminar closed with remarks by Hideyuki Mori, Executive Director of IGES, calling for new models to be developed to address biophysical challenges in a time of population decline in order to maintain a stable society.