BE2C2 Report by Irshad Salim — Summers around the world are going to get dramatically hotter by century’s end if carbon pollution continues to rise. That problem will be felt most acutely in cities.
The world’s rapidly growing population coupled with the urban heat island effect — which can make cities up to 14°F (7.8°C) warmer than their leafy, rural counterparts — add up to a recipe for dangerous and potentially deadly heat.
As an example, summer highs in Karachi, Pakistan could be more like Jeddah, Saudi Arabia by 2100 without emissions cuts. And, in New Delhi, India summer highs could be more like Sharjah, United Arab Emirates by 2100 without emissions cuts. As for Dhaka, Bangladesh it could be more like Karachi, Pakistan by 2100 without emissions cuts. While, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia could be more like Baghdad, Iraq by 2100 without emissions cuts, Riyadh’s summer highs would be around 48 degree — currently there is no place on Earth that is as hot as summers could be in the Saudi capital by 2100 without emissions cuts.
And what about Male, Maldives — the country said to be on the crosshairs of climate change and sea-levels change of the worst kind. It could be more like Bangalore, India by 2100 without emissions cuts.
Currently, about 54 percent of the world’s population lives in cities, and by 2050 the urban population is expected to grow by 2.5 billion people —
almost two-thirds will be living and working in the urban areas according to forecasts. As those cities get hotter, weather patterns may shift and make extreme heat even more common. That will in turn threaten public health and the economy — unless preventive and mitigation steps are taken in the present.
For your city, use the interactive graph below.
How Hot Will Summers Be By 2100?
Search or click on a city to find out.
To illustrate just how hot cities’ future could be and the choices they face, Climate Central created the interactive above in partnership with the World Meteorological Organization. It shows how the average summer high in the future in each of these cities compares to other cities of today. In some cases, the shift puts them in a completely new temperature zone.
Under the high-pollution scenario, mountainous Kabul, Afghanistan could feel like coastal Colombo, Sri Lanka. Already hot Cairo, Egypt could feel like its downright sweltering neighbor Abu Dhabi.
The average land temperature is projected to rise 8.6°F (4.8°C), but due to the vagaries of geography, some cities will warm much more. Sofia, Bulgaria has the biggest overall temperature shift, with temperatures rising nearly 15°F (8.4°C) by 2100. That would make its summers more like Port Said, Egypt.
Up to a dozen cities will heat up so much, their summers will have no analog currently on Earth. Khartoum, Sudan’s average summer temperature is projected to skyrocket to 111.4°F (44.1°C) if carbon pollution continues unchecked. That shift underscores that unless carbon pollution is curbed, the planet could be headed toward a state humans have never experienced.
Reducing carbon emissions still means temperatures will rise in cities (and everywhere else). In Khartoum, moderate cuts mean the city’s summer average high is projected to top out at 106.9°F (41.6°C), a high that is still hot (as hot as Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to be exact) but at least of-this-planet hot.
Dealing with less extreme heat makes adaptation easier and less expensive, and given that choice, perhaps it’s no surprise cities are leading the charge on climate change. They face the worst impacts of extreme heat and are home to billions. That’s why thousands of mayors from around the world have banded together and pledged to reduce their emissions. That includes multitudes of U.S. cities committing to meet the Paris Agreement goals after President Trump announced he was pulling the U.S. from the pact, and even more ambitious moves like Oslo’s pledge to nearly zero its emissions by 2030.
The Middle Eastern (home to major oil producers and exporters) governments have shifted their priorities toward non-oil economy — with renewables (green energy) as the focus going forward – a game-changer in line with Paris Agreement they signed on in December 2015.