Billions at risk of extreme weather, food shortages by 2050

Billions of people in thousands of cities around the world will be at risk from climate-related heatwaves, drought, flooding, food shortages, blackouts and social inequality by mid-century, finds new research.

The report The Future We Don’t Want – How climate change could impact the world’s greatest cities predicts how many urban residents will face potentially devastating climate-related hazards by 2050 if global warming continues on its current trajectory. It also estimates how climate change under a ‘business-as-usual scenario’ will impact urban food security and energy systems as well as the urban poor, who are most vulnerable to climate change.

Among its key findings: 1.6 billion people living in over 970 cities will be regularly exposed to extreme high temperatures; over 800 million people living in 570 cities will be vulnerable to sea level rise and coastal flooding; 650 million people in over 500 cities will be at risk of water shortages; and 2.5 billion people will be living in over 1,600 cities where national food supply is threatened by climate change.

Produced by C40 Cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) and Acclimatise, the report also contains concrete examples of climate solutions that cities are delivering and, if adopted at-scale, could help prevent the worst impacts of climate change. Some of those solutions will be showcased at the Global Climate Action Summit, which will take place in San Francisco from September 12-14.

“For most C40 cities, the impacts of climate change are not a far off threat. From Cape Town to Houston, Mayors are seeing severe droughts, storms, fires and more,” said Antha Williams, Head of Environmental Programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies and C40 Board Member.

“As this report shows, C40 mayors are on the front line of climate change, and the actions they take today – to use less energy in buildings, transition to clean transportation and reduce waste – are necessary to ensure prosperity and safety for their citizens.

Image credit: marco bono via Flickr

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