Is climate change about to claim its first cities?

4 November 2015


A new study* in Nature Climate Change suggests that by the end of the century, extreme heatwaves could create conditions in several Middle Eastern cities that would exceed the threshold of what human beings can endure. The authors "expose a specific regional hotspot where climate change, in the absence of significant mitigation, is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future."

In CSaP's Policy Challenge on Resilient Cities, we worked with the Cambridge Forum for Sustainability and the Environment to bring together researchers, policy makers and practitioners in a series of policy workshops in 2013-14. We also collaborated with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development through a Distinguished Debate and an Expert Group to grapple with how to effectively respond to this question in this vulnerable region.

Image: Spatial distribution of extreme temperature without mitigation (Pal and Eltahir, 2015).

* Pal, J. S. and Eltahir, E. A. B. (2015) Future temperature in southwest Asis projected to exceed a threshold for human adaptability. Nature Climate Change.

(Banner image from Francisco Anzola via Flickr)