Climate change is happening already and brings with it growing threats from floods, storms and heatwaves. However, a new report from CDP (a not-for-profit charity that enables companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts) has concluded very few cities are prepared for the weather extremes that may be on the way.
It has discovered that as many as 400 million people could be living in cities that do not have adaptation and resilience plans in place to address these intensifying threats
The data highlighted that of the 800 cities worldwide that 93 per cent report facing significant threats to their residents, buildings, and infrastructure from the changing climate. Further 74 per cent are seeing increasing risks to already vulnerable populations.
The troubling part is that 43 per cent of the cities analysed, which will have a combined population of 400 million people by 2030, do not currently have plans in place.
The report also found that more than half of the cities haven’t conducted a climate risk and vulnerability assessment and do not yet have a city-wide emissions reduction target.
CDP believes that the main reason that cities haven’t begun to plan is financial, yet it argues that essential climate adaptation measures, though expensive, would only be a fraction of the cost of the financial stimulus packages that governments across the globe invested last year due to the Covid pandemic.
Kyra Appleby, global director for cities, states, and regions at CDP, argues that a green recovery is key, but that it needs to be backed up by resilience plans
“As we embark on the next 10 years of climate action, we acknowledge that city progress has been steady, but there is still much work to do. We must prioritize a green recovery and ensure that cities have the necessary support to decarbonise rapidly and build resilience to tackle climate risks. With the clock ticking down, the time for strong, decisive action is now.”
The adaptation measures CDP advocates include
* urban tree planting and measures to enhance green areas to tackle urban heat islands
* the development of hazard-resistant infrastructure
* investment in flood risk and sea level rise mitigation measures
* programmes to retrofit homes to combat fuel poverty and protect against heat waves.
“Cities are key actors in building a resilient future for all. They have a dual role to play – to reduce emissions but also to protect populations and infrastructure from the physical hazards and resulting impacts of climate change. Since March 2020, we have seen the huge and disruptive impact Covid-19 has had on lives and livelihoods across the globe, with cities needing to divert resources to saving lives, bolstering economies and protecting vital health services. Now, to build a resilient planet and ensure everyone is protected from future threats, every city must carry out a climate risk and vulnerability assessment to identify the crucial actions they must take,” Appleby concludes.