Increasing Citizens’ Perception and Awareness of Climate Risks – A case study in Porto

18:00 Tuesday 28 May

PO037

PS4

 

Ana Monteiro (Portugal) 1; Sara Santos Cruz (Portugal) 1; Paulo Conceição (Portugal) 1; Filipa Malafaya (Portugal) 1; Paula Gonçalves (Portugal) 1; Tomasz Opach (Norway) 3; Carlo Navarra (Norway) 2

1 - CITTA, University of Porto; 2 - Linköping University; 3 - Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) & Linköping University (LiU)

Climate change exposes ecological and socio-economic systems to risk. Disparities in the knowledge of the societal climate system are at the root of difficulties in perceiving and understanding the diversity of climate change related risks. The still huge gap between what science and technological innovation can help to mitigate and what is uncontrollable by human beings inevitably requires a continuous adaptation process. The IPPC Special Report ‘Global Warming of 1.5ºC (IPPC, 2018) is an example of this effort to continuously adjust the processes. Climate risks are defined as the combination between hazards, vulnerabilities and exposure (IPCC, 2014); thus, revealing the urgency of understanding how to deal with all three components. Whereas, there are some possibilities: enhance knowledge in meteorological phenomena, better understanding of the social and environmental systems, decreasing the predisposition to be adversely affected, reducing to what extent people, assets and ecosystems are unprotected, and finally enhance strategies for risk assessment and management.

Adaptation strategies necessarily need the active involvement of a wide variety of actors in decision-making processes, strong motivation, engagement and joint responsibility. In this line of thought, the involvement of both citizens and professional stakeholders will only be improved if their climate change risk perception and awareness is substantially increased. Awareness raising campaigns about potential risks associated with extreme events are of great importance. Citizens tend to regard climate change as a global phenomenon, ignoring and avoiding taking action till they are directly and seriously affected.

This paper is part of the research being undertaken in a European project ‘Citizen Sensing’, that proposes a participatory risk management system as a two-way communication system, where citizens act as both receivers and providers of site-specific data, making use of a web-application. Although the project is being developed in four European cities, the presentation is focused on the case of the city of Porto, making use of the knowledge produced in other plans and projects developed for the same territory.

The presentation aims to explore the perception and awareness of climate risks by citizens and main stakeholders before and after interacting with the project. The evaluation is made through a cross-analysis of climate risks maps with workshops and surveys to the main users of the web-app. Ultimately, the goal is to conclude on how this application can contribute to both enhance the literacy of citizens in dealing with climate change adaptation and increase their awareness towards this issue.