Planning for mitigating climate change risk to metropolitan areas (USA)
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In the last couple of decades, there has been increasing evidence of changes in global climate. With urban areas identified as the primary contributors to the climate change, there is an impetus for initiatives to persuade major contributors of greenhouse gases to undertake policy measures for climate change mitigation. The support for such initiatives at the international level has been mixed with many nations, including the United States, not accepting the Kyoto protocol. In view of the evident disagreement at the international level, initiatives promoting local communities to adopt self regulating policies for climate change mitigation have gained importance. One such initiative is the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) supported by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. This research explores the differences in the socio-economic and civic characteristics of metropolitan areas in the contiguous United States that have committed to CCP (as a policy measure for climate change mitigation) to those that have not. The data in this study has been primarily collected from the census documents and government publications. The indicators are grouped into risk, stress and civic variables. The differences amongst the metropolitan areas with CCP committed jurisdictions and those with non-committed jurisdictions have been analyzed through statistical t-tests and use of geographical information system (GIS). The research reveals that metropolitan areas with a higher degree of risk are more likely to commit to climate change mitigation policies whereas those with higher stress index are less likely to commit. The metropolitan areas with higher civic index were also found more likely to commit to policy measures for climate change mitigation. The results of the study are significant as they reveal that communities that are at risk are not necessarily adding to the climate stress and those contributing the most to the climatic stress are not committed to climate change mitigation. The results of the study support the need to discontinue the closed box approach and instead adopt an approach with vertical integration. Cooperation and coordination amongst the hierarchical aggregate levels of communities, from a place to a region, are imperative for effective implementation of climate mitigation initiatives.