The Eco Cities project involving the University of Manchester will draw a blueprint for Greater Manchester to cope with effects of global warming and also find ways for urban areas to respond to climate change.

Professor Simon Guy, Eco Cities director, said: “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century, and as home to over half the world’s population, our cities and towns must be prepared to adapt.

“Eco Cities is an international initiative that recognises the need for local adaptation responses to climate change impacts.”

The adaptation strategy for Manchester will be drawn up by 2011 as “key resource” for planners, professor Guy said.

Experts warn climate change is likely to intensify the urban heat island effect in cities, which endure higher temperatures than the countryside.

“Even if emissions were stopped tomorrow there would be decades of climate change to contend with,” said professor Guy.

“That is why we must begin to develop and implement strategies to adapt to a changing climate, at the same time as reducing carbon emissions.”

At last Thursday’s (July 23) launch in Manchester Town Hall, the university and Manchester City Council signed a joint agreement to find ways for urban areas to respond to climate change.

Council Leader Sir Richard Leese said: “Manchester is home to the kind of committed individuals and organisations that the city needs to make sure that we respond properly to the challenge and opportunity of climate change.

The two organisations pledged to work together on related projects, including Eco Cities.

Professor Guy said: “Work in Manchester will provide a living laboratory to test adaptation methods and develop transferable research findings.

“We will work with a global network of individuals and organisations with an interest in climate change, sharing best practice on how cities are designed, built and managed in the face of a changing climate.”

The Eco Cities scheme is a partnership between the university and office provider Bruntwood.

Michael Oglesby, company chairman, said: “Eco Cities aims to make a major contribution to the adaptation debate and to give clear and scientifically verified guidance to local government, companies and individuals.”

For more details on the launch click here.

David Gibbs

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