CDP – the non-profit that runs the world’s environmental disclosure system for companies, cities, states and regions – has reported that extreme heat is the most widespread climate hazard facing the world’s cities.
Eighty percent of the 1,090 cities that reported their environmental data through CDP-ICLEI Track in 2022 said they face significant climate hazards, with 70% already being affected. Moreover, 70% of cities expect these hazards to be more intense in the future and 58% expect them to increase in frequency.
Fifty-one percent of the reporting cities reported extreme heat as a hazard, making it the most widely reported climate hazard facing the world’s cities. Other heat-related hazards reported by cities to CDP-ICLEI Track include drought (35% of cities) and the risk of wildfires (19%).
As seen in July of this year, when Earth saw its hottest month on record – and in an estimated 120,000 years – when wildfires ravaged parts of the planet from Hawaii to Portugal to China, extreme heat is affecting every part of the globe. Of cities that reported climate hazards, 81% (179 cities) in North America reported extreme heat as a climate hazard, followed by 79% (153 cities) in Europe and the UK, 58% (86 cities) in Asia-Pacific, 49% (31 cities) in Africa and the Middle East, and 43% (108 cities) in Latin America. These include New York, Vancouver, São Paolo, Athens, London, Tel Aviv, Abuja, Delhi and Melbourne.
CDP’s analysis also examines the stark impact of extreme heat on the world’s population, finding that the elderly (reported by 88% of cities), low-income households (67%), children and youth (63%) and marginalized communities (45%) are the groups most affected. The analysis also shows that for 143 cities, almost their entire population is affected by extreme heat.
Maia Kutner, CDP global director for cities, states and regions, said, “The last few weeks have given us an uncomfortable insight into what the future holds for our planet through the lens of just one of many climate hazards – extreme heat. Fire after fire after fire devouring homes, livelihoods and nature, from Hawaii to China; the single hottest month ever recorded in human history; and the warmest reported ocean temperature. All of which, in years to come, will seem unremarkable.
“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. Reporting environmental data through CDP-ICLEI Track is a city’s first step on the road to meaningful and tangible climate action, as what gets measured then gets managed. We urge all cities, large and small, to do the measuring now so that they can get on with the managing to build the sustainable future we, and our planet, so desperately need.”
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