Four in five cities already facing climate hazards, says CDP

Phoenix, Arizona (pictured) endured an 18-day stretch of temperatures exceeding 43C this summer

CDP has this week revealed new data relating to climate hazard preparations, impacts and forecasts from 1,090 cities that disclose climate-related data using its platform.

It confirms that, for most cities, climate hazards are not a future risk but a present threat.

Half of the cities reported that they dealt with extreme heat during the past year. 35% of the cities said this heat had resulted in drought, while 19% had faced risks relating to wildfires.

The region most impacted by extreme heat was found to be North America. Eight in ten of the cities disclosing through CDP recorded an extreme heat event. The proportion was similar in mainland Europe.

July has been confirmed by NASA and by the Copernicus Climate Change Service as the hottest month on record. The global average temperature was almost 17C. Regions including Greece, France, Italy and Spain recorded temperatures exceeding 40C at the end of July, compounding issues already caused by unseasonably early heatwaves in the spring. July heatwaves were also recorded in the Southwest of the USA.

Record-breaking heatwaves have additionally been recorded in large parts of Asia since April including India, Thailand and Bangladesh.

Future risks

Most cities disclosing through CDP expect climate-related hazards to get worse in the coming decades. Looking at the next ten years, seven in ten cities are expecting more intense extreme weather events and 58% are expecting them to become more frequent.

This level of concern for the future is founded, give the latest climate science. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that half of the global popularion is already highly vulnerable to climate risks, and that regions housing billions could become ‘unliveable’ in a 2.8C trajectory. This is the trajectory which existing Government policies are aligned to; it exceeds both of the Paris Agreement’s warming trajectory commitments.

CDP’s global director for cities, states and regions, Maia Kutner, said there is a very real risk that the risks seen this July will “seem unremarkable” in years to come.

She said: “The consequences of the actions and policies that have led us to the point where the world is literally on fire are as clear as the blankets of smoke seen from space.

“There is good news though – there is still time to act to reduce emissions, switch to clean energy, make our cities resilient and protect people and nature, but national and local governments must focus and move very fast.

“We urge all cities, large or small, to do the ‘measuring’ now, so they can get on with the ‘managing’ to build the sustainable future we, and our planet, so desperately need.”

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