SUSTAINABLE CITIES IN ACTION 2024: THE HEAT RESILIENCE QUESTION
Sustainable Cities in Action Forum 2024 is spotlighting three key priorities for future urban development in the face of our changing climate. Below, we consider the importance of the first of these themes, Heat Resilience
The health, environmental and economic impact of extreme heat is gaining prominence on urban policy agendas worldwide.
As the planet warms, billions of city-dwellers will be exposed to climate-driven extreme heat. By 2050, the number of cities experiencing extremely hot temperatures will nearly triple, according to the UN Environment Programme. Today, nearly one third of the world’s population is exposed to life-threatening heat extremes for 20 days a year or more.
A 2023 report by UNICEF estimates that 76 per cent of children under 18 in South Asia – 460 million – are exposed to extreme high temperatures where 83 or more days in a year exceed 35c. This can cause poor mental development in infants, developmental setbacks such as neurological dysfunction, and cardiovascular diseases.
This is a particular issue for cities with little green space. They are up to five degrees warmer because of the “urban heat island” effect, where heat is created or retained by cars, buildings and people.
This leads to reduced air quality and can cause health complications such as dehydration and cardiovascular events, and environmental and humanitarian emergencies such as droughts and forest fires.
Recent analysis by the Centre for Economic Policy Research also found a correlation between very high temperatures and disruptions in trade and investment.
Given that they already experience some of the most extreme heat conditions on the planet, cities in the Middle East are skilled at taking proactive steps to form heat resilience plans and strategies.
At Sustainable Cities in Action Forum 2024, experts and stakeholders from the region will share their experiences and knowledge on innovative solutions, such as passive cooling techniques, smart urban design, and efficient energy systems – all of which can be applied globally to tackle the effects of climate change.
Sustainable Cities in Action Forum will bring the world together to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices, ensuring that cities across the globe are better equipped to thrive in a warmer, more extreme climate.
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