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Should cities employ climate specialists?

Paweł Binkiewicz  5. 7. 2022

Should cities employ climate specialists?

The awareness of the danger of climate change is constantly growing. Many companies create functions such as green officer or climate officer, i.e. people responsible for strategic activities in the climate area. In large European cities, the use of climatologists' analyzes or the creation of special advisory units employing climatologists is also becoming popular. Should we follow their example?

Climate change is becoming an increasing challenge for cities. Local governments try to adapt urban spaces to climate change in various ways, but in order for this actions to be effective, they should be properly coordinated.

Bright roofs that heat up more slowly, the right ratio of street width to building height to shade streets or building with materials with special thermal properties - innovative ideas to help cities adapt to climate change are introduced every day. However, to do it correctly, a city needs a climatologist - convinces Klaudia Plac from the University of Economics in Katowice. A climatologist is a person who can predict the effects of various investments in the urban structure, such as the introduction of "high-rise buildings" or the creation of green zones in specific areas of a city. It can also save us from expenses, even very high ones, that we will bear on unsuccessful projects. An example can be playgrounds, which are very often created in cities. When building them, we use materials that have a very high absorption of solar radiation, and thus heat up very fast. These spaces are practically useless during the summer, especially in the afternoons, when potential beneficiaries would be interested in using them. Therefore, we create zones that, as a rule, require repair - explains Klaudia Plac. Cities, while shaping their spatial policy, often analyze climate issues. However, according to Klaudia Plac, especially in the Śląskie Voivodeship, these are very superficial analyzes that concern not so much the city structure and conditions in specific city zones, but the general climatic conditions in the city. From such analyzes, we can find out what the average air temperatures or temperature amplitudes are. However, we don’t have an answer to the question of what temperatures actually occur in specific areas of the city. It does not only apply to thermal conditions - these are also conditions related to humidity or ventilation of given city zones. Therefore, it is worth considering the introduction of such a function in the structures of municipal offices that would allow for taking into account climate issues already at the stage of designing the municipal structure and new investments.

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