Global Warming Will Cost Cities Twice As Much Thanks To ‘Heat Islands’
It is expected that global warming will have a major impact on the economy, and a new study suggests that cities will be the most difficult.
The study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change showed that the total economic costs of climate change for cities could be 2.6 times higher because of an effect researchers call the “urban heat island.”
The researchers examined 1692 cities and found that by the year 2100, they could be up to 8 degrees C warmer. Nearly 5 degrees would be due to global warming, but the rest comes from the heat island effect, which occurs when parks and lakes are replaced by concrete and asphalt.
By 2050, cities could see temperatures rise two degrees from the islands of heat. This could mean more air pollution, poor water and poor health.
“Any hard-won victory over climate change in the world could be destroyed by the effects of uncontrolled urban heat islands,” Richard SJ Tol of the University of Sussex said in a statement.
The study found that the median city loses between 1.4% and 1.7% of GDP in 2050 and between 2.3 and 5.6% in 2100, according to the amount of heat that heats during this period. The poorest city could have losses of up to almost 11 percent of its GDP.
The researchers examined various policies that could mitigate the economic impact of global warming, such as planting more trees.
They found that the cheapest measure would be to install fresh ceilings and floors that absorb less heat and less reflected in the surrounding environment. The study found that modifying 20 percent of a city’s roofs and half of its sidewalks could save 12 times the cost of installation and maintenance and reduce the air temperature by 0.8 degrees.