While climate change is a global issue, it is felt at a local level. Cities are at the frontline of adaptation, and must work to reduce vulnerability to the harmful effects of climate change, like sea-level encroachment or more extreme weather events.

Parts of Glasgow are already at risk of flooding and climate change threatens to bring the total number of homes and businesses in danger of being flooded from ~45,000 currently to almost 60,000 by 2080.

Glasgow is focused on adapting the city and increasing resilience to the effects of global heating, as well as reducing emissions.

Learning from the past

Archaeology may not be the first discipline that comes to mind when we think of how to tackle the climate crisis, but a worldwide team of academics, co-led by Dr Nicki Whitehouse from University of Glasgow and colleagues from the US and Spain, is showing what archaeology can teach us about the role humans have played in contributing to global climate change.

Their project, LandCover6K, looks back at 12,000 years of history to show how land use and land cover have changed globally, to improve our understanding of historical and current land-cover changes and their effects on climate. This could help us predict future effects and inform sustainability strategies, including the use of traditional agricultural practices.

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Partnership to support global transition to zero-carbon

The University of Strathclyde, insurance group AIG, and Aberdeen-based Wood have formed a partnership which will support cities and businesses as they transition to zero-carbon economies while improving resilience to climate change and extreme weather.

The partners will work with cities including COP26 host Glasgow, Milan and Pittsburgh, and a range of industries from energy to telecoms to develop strategies for improved sustainability and resilience. Other cities in the Global North and Global South are expected to join the partnership.

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Smart Canal

A European first for Glasgow – and one of few examples in the world – Glasgow’s ‘Smart Canal’ combines 18th and 21st Century technologies to both mitigate flood risk and help enable the regeneration of North Glasgow. The £17million project is a partnership between Glasgow City Council, Scottish Canals and Scottish Water.

The pioneering new digital surface water drainage system will unlock 110 hectares across the north of the city for investment, regeneration and development, paving the way for more than 3000 new eco-homes.

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Sustainable Environmental Building Design

Airtight modern homes can suffer from a build-up of harmful chemicals and moisture. The Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit (MEARU) at Glasgow School of Art undertakes strategic and applied research into several aspects of sustainable environmental building design, including health and wellbeing. MEARU is working with clinical research specialists in respiratory disease to research the potential health effects of energy efficient architecture practices and ventilation strategies.

Following a MEARU-led change in building regulations in Scotland, all new build properties must now be equipped with CO2 sensors to show residents how well their houses are ventilated.

Trees can help us reach net zero emissions

Six research teams across the UK, including an academic from the University of Glasgow, will develop new tools and approaches which will help trees and woodlands adapt to climate change and enable the UK to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The research will also improve our understanding of the value of trees to people and the planet, and support the expansion of treescapes across the UK.

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New green college set to open in Glasgow

Work has begun on the site of construction firm City Building’s new on-site college training campus in Springburn, with a focus on training involving new and renewable energy technology.

City Building currently offers trainee apprenticeships in areas such as painting, plumbing, electrical and joinery, with the new venture looking to set the future stars of the industry on the right path.

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Sustainable Tenements

The UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence, based at the University of Glasgow, has been awarded £250,000 by the Scottish Funding Council’s Climate Emergency Collaboration Challenge for a new sustainable housing project in Govanhill.

In partnership with Glasgow City Council, Southside Housing Association and other partners, CaCHE will lead a project which will retrofit a block of eight tenement flats. The project will allow for real-life testing of changes to specification for the refurbishment of properties to significantly reduce carbon emissions from the refurbished building, and an evaluation of how best to solve sustainability issues with Glasgow’s wider, iconic older tenement stock.

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Photograph courtesy of John Tweedie (jtweedie1976), under Creative Commons CC-BY

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