Background: Regional Action on Climate Change (RACC) was created in 2009 as an adjunct session to the STS forum (www.stsforum.org) to discuss the challenges climate change poses for governments, organizations and regions as they develop adaptation strategies. Climate change, already here, will increase in coming decades. Greenhouse gas emissions are running ahead of the worst-case scenario of the IPCC. Mitigation aims to cut off global warming at its source by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide. Mitigation now seems harder than we once thought. Not only are there serious political and economic difficulties, but it will take decades to deploy new energy technologies on a global scale. As we continue our vital efforts on mitigation, we must adapt to the changes we cannot prevent. The universality of the climate problem has called forth a global community of researchers and practitioners whose social techniques and technical tools can help local leaders address the great challenges of environment and development with which climate change is intertwined.
RACC is based on Knowledge Action Networks to connect the global science, technology, and policy communities to realize locally appliable solutions. These are sponsored social networks connecting the generators of pertinent knowledge with local actors and decision makers. Every region has knowledge leaders who can forge relationships with local decision-makers, but often there aren’t enough of them. The critical mass sufficient to characterize the multiple impacts of climate change and communicate them to decision makers is often lacking.
Regional approach: Because each region is unique, so too are the challenges and required solutions. RACC provides an opportunity to assess regionally and act locally.
Why RACC Partnership? To bring issues of climate science to the attention of the worlds’ business, policy and scientific leaders at the STS Forum, so as to build bridges between those who have expert knowledge and those with the power to take action.
The RACC facilitates solution-oriented dialogue and partnership between city mayors, corporate leaders, governmental agencies, engineers and scientists.
Objectives of the RACC are: (1) learning from each other’s experiences, issues, problems and solution approaches, and from the integration of local and traditional knowledge with newest advances in science and technology; (2) creating a growing community of individuals across societal institutions and disciplines who talk the same language; (3) developing templates based on local cases for successful solutions in climate change adaptation; (4) building capacities around the globe for dealing efficiently with local challenges for successful climate change adaptation.
Issues discussed at the RACC comprise topics such as: (1) coastal cities: risks from climate change and natural hazards; (2) loss of productive and inhabitable land, through sea level rise; (3) spread of infectious diseases as a result of climate change; (4) loss of permafrost and consequent ground destabilization.
Organization: The RACC meetings are typically four to maximum eight hours and take place the day before the opening of the STS forum. A special topic is dealt with in the first part, followed by a breakout session dealing with particular experiences of Knowledge Action Networks in Africa and Europe, the Americas, and Asia. The lessons learned and required solutions identified in the breakout sessions will be presented to all at the end of the meeting.
RACC Governing Board
Adel El-Beltagy, International Dryland Development Commission (IDDC), Egypt
Jim Falk, University of Melbourne, Australia
Daniel Goldin, Intellisis, USA
Hideo Harasawa, National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Japan
Reinhard Hüttl, acatech - National Academy of Science and Engineering, Germany
Charles F. Kennel, University of California, San Diego, USA
Gordon A. McBean, Institute of Catastrophic Loss Reduction, Canada (Chair)
Asako Omi, STS Forum (ex officio), Japan
Tomihiro Taniguchi, STS Forum (ex officio), Japan
Ismail Serageldin, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt
Hideyuki Mori, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan
Makoto Taniguchi, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN), Japan
Christopher Tremewan, Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), Singapore
Hideaki Tsuzuku, Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE), Japan
Alexander J.B. Zehnder, Alberta Innovates-Energy and Environment Solutions, Canada and Triple Z Ltd, Switzerland