polluted city

2°C temperature rise predicted for major cities within decade

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Thirteen cities across the world will see a 2°C increase in temperature over the next decade, according to a new report from the Urban Climate Change Research Network.

The Belgian city of Leuven faces the highest potential increase among a hundred cities that are included in a report, which has been several years in the making.

Cities that could see the steepest temperature increases during the 2020s include Geneva in Switzerland (2.5°C), Shenzhen in China (2.3°C) and Tsukuba in Japan (2.3°C), the study showed.

All predictions also included a lower limit. For instance, temperatures in Leuven could increase by as little as 1.1°C.

The new data provides “foundation knowledge” for cities at the forefront of efforts to rein in the effects of global warming, said Cynthia Rosenzweig, an editor of the report and a researcher with Nasa.

The findings come after a University of Washington study found last year that the chances of global warming being kept below 2°C – a prime target of the Paris Agreement – are only 5 per cent. 

Experts say that storms, floods and other extreme weather events that are related to climate change are hitting cities much harder than scientists had predicted.

“How will the cities know how they should develop their resilience plans unless they know what temperature projections, how the climate is supposed to change in their cities?” said Rosenzweig during a press conference.

The findings’ variance - projected increases do not exceed 1°C in a handful of cases - offer a reminder that cities need to develop tailored plans to mitigate the effects of climate change, said Solecki, a professor at Hunter College in New York.

Yesterday, researchers at a UN-backed climate summit firmly placed the blame for global warming on wealthier cities.

They said that greenhouse gas emissions generated by cities in some of the world’s most economically advanced countries are as much as 60 per cent higher than currently estimated, when also accounting for the impact of trade in goods and services between cities and the rest of the world.

Calculating emissions of greenhouse gases, which are blamed for global warming, traditionally looks at where goods such as cellular phones or plastic cups are produced, they said.

Consumption-based emissions presents a fuller picture by attributing emissions to the consumers rather than the manufacturers.

Cities account for an estimated 75 per cent of carbon emissions, according to UN figures used at the summit.

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