Billions facing climate-related heatwaves and droughts by 2050

Billions of people living in thousands cities across the world will face crippling heatwaves, droughts and flooding by mid-century if global warming continues on its current trajectory.

That is according to a report by C40 Cities, which reveals that approximately 1.6 billion will be regularly exposed to extremely high temperatures, with poor city dwellers among the most vulnerable in the world to climate change.

A staggering 2.5 billion people could see their national food supply threatened, with around 650 million facing water shortages, while over 800 million could experience coastal flooding caused by rising sea levels.

“For most cities, the impacts of climate change are not a far off threat,” said C40 board member, Antha Williams. “From Cape Town to Houston, mayors are seeing severe droughts, storms, fires and more.”

The report says “urgent” action is needed to reduce green house gas emissions, but that other climate solutions will also be needed to mitigate the risks facing city residents.

It points to the example set by Seoul, which has planted 16 million trees and vastly expanded its green space in an effort to remove carbon and other pollutants from the air.

London is improving it drainage infrastructure to withstand heavy flooding, while São Paulo has set up reward schemes to incentivise citizens to use less water.

“Every city must invest today in the infrastructure and policies that will protect citizens from the future effects of our changing global climate,” Patricia de Lille, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy board member, said.

 

Image credit: Shutterstock

Author: 

Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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