It’s no secret that climate hazards are rising, with headlines of floods, hurricanes, and wildfires taking over the news. Now, a report from CDP, a nonprofit climate disclosure group, found that 4 out of 5 cities have experienced “significant climate hazards” this year. One-quarter of cities surveyed also expect to see more frequent “high-risk” climate hazards by 2025.
Researchers surveyed 998 cities for its Protecting People and the Planet analysis, finding that 80% of responding cities reporting they faced significant climate hazards — including extreme heat (46%), heavy rainfall (36%), drought (35%) and flooding (33%) — in 2022. For 28% of the cities facing significant climate hazards, these extreme weather events threaten at least 70% of the cities’ populations. Most respondents facing significant climate hazards also expect to see more intense or more frequent hazards in the future.
“From the deadliest floods in Pakistan’s history to the worst drought across the continent of Europe in five centuries, 2022 has been another devastating year for climate change events,” Maia Kutner, Interim Global Director of Cities, States and Regions at CDP, said in a statement. “Every day, the world over, we hear routine phrases like ‘unprecedented’, ‘worst ever’ or ‘first time in history’ that do little to convey the staggering impact the globe’s rising temperature has on the planet and its people.”
Responding cities also noted that their resources are also under threat, with water supply perceived as being at the greatest risk, followed by agriculture and waste management.
While the report does outline grim concerns from cities around the world, it also outlines how cities taking people-centered climate action has led to a host of benefits, including increased green spaces, improved air, soil and water quality, better physical and mental health of city residents, and increased food and water security.
“This report underlines the major risks cities around the world face from climate change as well as the benefits of taking action — including cleaning the air, improving public health, and expanding economic opportunity,” said Michael Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions. “The more cities know about those risks and benefits, and the more they engage citizens in the work they’re doing to confront the climate crisis, the faster they can make progress.”
Following the report, CDP is calling on cities to develop and implement climate action plans by setting science-based targets, focusing on and engaging with people, particularly vulnerable populations, and working with governments and the private sector for support and investment.