Climate change has led to a series of extreme climate events. Climate change adaptation and the related risks were the research focus among the international scientific community and governments in the world. Comparing with the urban climate change adaptive capacity in China’s eastern and central areas, it was relatively low in Western China owing to its eco-environment vulnerability and sensibility of natural system. Since the Great Development of the western region, the urban population has grown rapidly and the urban infrastructure construction ability has enhanced in Western China. However, population density has become a prominent issue in large cities, which increased more difficult to address the climate change.
This study chose the adaptive pilot cities and individual provincial capital cities in Western China as the main research object. 16 indicators were selected to built the Evaluation Index System, which was refered by the “Press-State-Response” (PSR) framework. Evaluation model was built by using the Analytic Hierarchy Process(AHP) and the expert scoring method as well as Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to an Ideal Solution (TOPSIS). Adaptation Capability Index (ACI) included the pressure layer (P-ACI), the status layer (S-ACI) and the response layer (R-ACI). According to results of the ACI, it was divided into three levelys, namely, Level I, Level II and Level. The urban climate change adaptability in Western China concluded as follow:(1) The urban climate change adaptation capability was generally Level II in Western China.(2) The process of urbanization was relatively stable in Western China. The urban status index was basically distributed at the medium level.(3) Compared with the status index, the pressure index had a temporal difference, while, the response index had a hysteresis.(4) Compared with the climate change pressures faced by cities in Northwest China, it was more unstable in Southwest China. However, the response capability was better in Southwest China.(5) There were three stages of urban climate change adaptation capability in Western China. ○1 The primary stage included Guangyuan, Shangluo, Qingyang, Karamay, Xining and Yinchuan. The characteristics of the adaptability consisted of low comprehensive basic index, rapid development, adaptative awareness,but lack of the investment in human, material and financial resources. ○2 The middle stage included Urumqi, Xianyang and Baiyin. The characteristics of the adaptability consisted of medium comprehensive basic index and a slow pace of development. ○3 The advanced stage included Kunming and Liupanshui. The characteristics of the adaptability consisted of medium comprehensive basic index, rapid development and the sence of active adaptation.(6) There was not discrepant between the city scale and the level of adaptation capability.Based on the research results, the following recommendations were made on the current status of the related policies of climate change adaptation and mitigation in China:(1) Based on the the results of P-ACI, the urbanization development strategy and the climate change adaptation policies will be further integrated.(2) Based on the results of S-ACI, it will focus on solving the shortcomings of backward provinces.
(3) Based on the results of R-ACI, the research investment in socio-economic system will be increased, meanwhile, the scientific theoretical basis will need to be promoted.(4) Based on the results of the situation of regional differences, it was found that the increasing investment in risk prediction research, fully considering the intensity of extreme climate events and natural disasters could avoid the uneven distribution of the technology and infrastructure resources.