Category: Knowledge Library

FAO: Climate change is a key driver behind recent rise in global hunger

FAO: Climate change is a key driver behind recent rise in global hunger

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) recently released its annual flagship publication The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World stating that world hunger was on the rise for the third year in a row. The number of people facing chronic food deprivation had increased to almost 821 million in 2017, from roughly 804 million in 2016. Climate variability and extremes are two of the key drivers of this trend.

Worldwide trends

In 2017, the prevalence of undernourishment (PoU), or the percentage of undernourished people in the world population, reached 10.9 percent. According to the FAO, the main reasons for this deteriorating situation are instability in conflict-ridden regions, economic slowdowns in more peaceful regions, and adverse climate events. The most affected regions are Africa with a PoU of 21% and Asia with 11.4%. The worldwide trend indicates that without increased efforts by the international community, the world will fall short of the Sustainable Development Goals target to eradicate hunger by 2030.

Climate impacts food security and nutrition

Last year’s FAO report suggested conflict and violence were the main causes for food insecurity and efforts to fight hunger should go hand-in-hand with those that aim at sustaining peace. This year and thanks to new evidence, climate variability and extremes are added as a key factor influencing global hunger and a leading cause of food crises.

Since the early 1990s, the number of climate-related disasters has doubled. An average of 213 events per year have occurred between 1990 and 2016 with numbers rising dramatically after 1998.

Total number of natural disasters that occurred in low- and middle-income countries by region and during the period 1990–2016. Disasters are defined as medium- and large-scale disasters that exceed the thresholds set for registration on the EM-DAT international disaster database. See Annex 2 for the full definition of EM-DAT disasters. Source: FAO elaboration based on data from Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT). 2009. EM-DAT [online] Brussels. www.emdat.be
Climate variability and climate-related extreme events are already impacting agricultural production of major crops in the tropics. A situation that will only worsen without adaptation measures.

Drought: biggest risk to agriculture

Food production is most severely affected by floods, tropical storms, and droughts. However, droughts impact it by far the most causing over 80% of the total losses and damages to agriculture.

Droughts have the potential to affect national food availability and access, impacting nutrition and increasing the national PoU.

Countries in Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia experienced drought through abnormally low accumulated rainfall and also through lower rainfall intensities and fewer days of rainfall.

Visit the digital report by clicking here and download the PDF by clicking here.


Cover photo by RobertoVi/Pixabay (public domain).
First ever assessment of climate change influence on India’s hydropower plants points to increased generation potential

First ever assessment of climate change influence on India’s hydropower plants points to increased generation potential

Will Bugler

Climate change will have a significant impact on India’s hydropower plants, according to a new study. Changes in rainfall patterns, snowmelt and streamflow in India’s major rivers however, will affect the design and operation of India’s planned and current hydro plants. Amazingly however, the role of climate change on hydroelectric facilities in the country remains largely unexplored.

India is the world’s 7th largest producer of hydropower, and the predictable, low-carbon energy source is vitally important for the country’s ambitions to improve energy supplies and cut greenhouse gas emissions. With India’s population continuing to grow, the demand for clean energy will rise in the coming years. Hydropower offers considerable potential to meet some of this demand. Estimates suggest that the country uses less than 20 % of its total hydropower potential.

Dams must be built to last

As with other large infrastructure developments, proper consideration of climate change on hydroelectric facilities is essential. The lifespan of a large, concrete dam can extend to well over 100 years. A hydropower dam built today will be operational in a considerably different climate in its later life.

The study, undertaken by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, provides the first-ever assessment of climate change impacts on the hydropower potential of 7 large hydropower projects in India. Each facility has an installed capacity of over 300 MW, and most are among the top 10 largest hydropower projects in the country.

The study found that all 7 reservoirs studied are projected to experience greater levels of overall rainfall by the end of the century, with some being up to 18% wetter than today. However, the increase in rainfall will not be evenly spread throughout the year. The authors expect that much of the increase will fall as heavy, monsoon rains. This means that the hydro-electric dams may have to withstand more severe flood events than have been previously experienced. It also means that streamflow will not increase throughout the year, meaning that the increased rainfall is unlikely to be matched by a similar increase in electricity generation potential.

The study also found that snow cover is likely to decline affecting several catchments of hydroelectric facilities. This decline in snow cover will mean reduce its contribution to streamflow in the winter season.

Other factors affect streamflow

Overall, the study found that that there would be an increase in streamflow for the 7 hydropower facilities, and that with good planning, India could increase its overall generation from hydropower. Planners should take account of climate-driven changes in streamflow to best capitalise on these changes.

To do this, it will be important to consider other factors, notably the changing demand for irrigation. Increased irrigation demand can have a significant effect on streamflow and reduce hydropower production capacity. If rain falls over shorter periods of time and in more intense bursts, the demand for irrigation in the longer dry periods is likely to rise. This could offset some of the potential increase in generation.

Other factors such as changing land-use patterns will also have significant impacts on India’s hydropower production capacity. However, it is clear from this study that climate change will have significant influence on the streamflow that reaches each facility. As streamflow is highly localised, and dependent of many contributing factors relating to local geography, assessments should be carried out on all current and proposed hydropower plants to assess how they will operate under various climate scenarios.

The study Projected Increase in Hydropower Production in India under Climate Change can be found here.


Kumar, A., Kumar, K., Kaushik, N., Sharma, S. & Mishra, S. Renewable energy in India: Current status and future potentials. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 14, 2434–2442 (2010).

Cover photo by Thangaraj Kumaravel/Flickr (CC BY 2.0): Sharavathi hydroelectric power plant view.
Webinar recordings: Assessing climate-related physical risks in the banking industry – Outputs of a working group of 16 banks

Webinar recordings: Assessing climate-related physical risks in the banking industry – Outputs of a working group of 16 banks

These two webinars discuss the results of a collaboration between sixteen of the world’s leading banks with UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and climate risk and adaptation advisory firm Acclimatise, which resulted in the new report “Navigating A New Climate”. The banks set out to develop and test a widely applicable scenario-based approach for estimating the impact of climate change on their corporate lending portfolios as recommended by the Recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

The webinar focussed on the physical-related risk and opportunities, which is the risk resulting from climate variability, extreme events and longer-term shifts in climate patterns, and constitutes the second in a two-part series publishing both the physical risk and transition risk assessment methodologies developed through the Working Group’s collaboration.

Webinar 1

  • Introduction – Simone Dettling, Banking Team Lead, UNEP FI
  • Presentation of the physical risks & opportunities methodology – Richenda Connell and John Firth, Acclimatise
  • Piloting the Developed Methodology – Case Studies from Participating Banks – Alexandra Dumitru, Rabobank | Guy Stevens, ANZ

Webinar 2

  • Introduction – Remco Fischer, Climate Team Lead, UNEP FI
  • Presentation of the physical risks & opportunities methodology – Richenda Connell and John Firth, Acclimatise
  • Piloting the Developed Methodology – Case Studies from Participating Banks –  Nicole Vadori and Frank Yang, TD Bank Group | Simon Connell, Standard Chartered
New investor toolkit launched for managing climate risk and investing in resilience

New investor toolkit launched for managing climate risk and investing in resilience

By Will Bugler

The Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) is today launching a new guide for investors on climate risk tools and resources and managing for resilience.

The guide – Investing in Resilience: Tools and Frameworks for Managing Physical Risk – provides a snapshot of emerging tools and resources to help investors assess and manage physical climate risk, at both the portfolio and the asset level. It lays out some of the key concepts, issues and challenges associated with adaptation and provides a snapshot of emerging resources to help manage for resilience.

Climate change is increasingly recognised as a financial risk for investors, requiring the same levels of governance, oversight and active management as any other dimension of material financial performance.  These risks include both the financial costs and opportunities presented by transitioning to a net zero carbon economy, and the physical effects of climate change itself.

“The impacts of climate change are already being felt. This is translating into increased costs for investors at the asset and the portfolio level. These costs are set to escalate as climate change accelerates”, said Emma Herd Chief Executive Officer, IGCC.

“Financial regulators now expect financial institutions and regulated entities to have processes in place for managing climate change risks to their portfolio, this includes physical risk”.

“Investors need new sophisticated tools and resources to actively identify, measure and manage physical risk. The good news is that these tools are emerging”.

Investing in Resilience is an important and practical addition to the wave of new tools emerging to help investors tackle physical risks for assets and increase the resilience of their portfolio”, said Herd.

This guide is the latest in a series of resources that the Investor Group on Climate Change has developed in recent years to assess key climate risks across major industry sectors and identify means of investing in adaptation.

It was initially developed in a workshop, co-hosted with NAB in June 2018, mapping the landscape of emerging tools and resources for managing climate resilience.  It has been shaped and framed by investors and the finance community to accelerate the management of resilience across the Australian economy.

Download the report by clicking here.

In a warming world, access to cooling is an everyday essential

In a warming world, access to cooling is an everyday essential

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso

A recently released report by Sustainable Energy for All finds that 1.1 billion people around the world face immediate risks from insufficient access to cooling. According to the report, access to cooling is an important emerging opportunity in climate adaptation innovation.

Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative to the United Nations Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, said “In a world facing continuously rising temperatures, access to cooling is not a luxury – it’s essential for everyday life. It guarantees safe cold supply chains for fresh produce, safe storage of life-saving vaccines, and safe work and housing conditions.”

The study shows that access to cooling is very much tied to wealth. Of the 1.1 billion people at immediate risk, 470 million are in poor rural areas and 630 are in hotter, poor urban slums. These people are also concentrated in nine countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America: India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Indonesia, China, Mozambique and Sudan.

Cities, communities, and country leaders are asked to consider cooling action plans in order to close the access to cooling gap. Additionally, the Kyte points out that for companies that produce HFC-free, affordable air conditioning devices there is an enormous market opportunity out there.

In addition to the 1.1 billion rural and urban poor at immediate risk, the report identifies 2.3 billion people from the increasingly affluent lower-middle class, on the brink of being able to afford air conditioning, and 1.1 billion belonging to the established middle class, many of whom own air conditioning units but may able to upgrade them to more efficient ones.

This also ties into findings recently presented in a report completed by Acclimatise with UNEP FI and sixteen leading international banks. The report focuses on climate-related physical risks and opportunities to the banking sector. One of the examples named is an increased demand for loans for home improvements in order to cool houses where it was previously unnecessary.

While cooling is increasingly becoming a necessity, it is also a very energy-intensive measure. Increased cooling from HFCs and using fossil fuel powered energy can lead to more warming. In Mumbai alone, 40% of power use comes from air conditioning. Thus, phasing out HFCs, for instance through the Kigali Amendment, and the continued investment in renewable energy sources should remain priorities.

At the same time, urban development and real estate have the opportunity to radically rethink how buildings and cities can be designed in order to optimize cooling. In India, for example, 75% of the buildings required by 2030 have yet to be built, offering a massive opportunity to be innovative and provide cooler cities and housing.

Download the report by clicking here.


Cover photo by  PDPics/Pixabay (public domain): Mumbai skyline.
16 of the world’s leading banks collaborate to tackle physical risks of climate change

16 of the world’s leading banks collaborate to tackle physical risks of climate change

Note: Global briefings to the industry were held via webinars on 14 August – scroll down for more information and access to the recordings.

By Will Bugler

Sixteen leading banks, UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and Acclimatise, have published new methodologies that help banks understand how the physical risks and opportunities of a changing climate might affect their loan portfolios.

The methodologies, published in the report “Navigating a new climate”, were piloted across three climate-sensitive industry sectors: agriculture, energy and real estate. Using the methodologies, banks can begin to assess physical climate risks in their loan portfolios, evaluating the impacts on key credit risk metrics – Probability of Default (PD) and Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratios. The forward-looking assessments offer longer-term insights that go beyond the usual stress-testing horizon of 2-3 years.

“This report provides a practical way to assess the physical risks of climate change, which we have piloted on our real estate mortgage portfolio to consider how flood risks could impact Barclays’ customers now and in the future,” said Jon Whitehouse, Head of Government Relations & Citizenship, Barclays, “this type of assessment helps us to manage climate change risk and opportunity, both at a transactional and portfolio level.”

The methodologies are designed to enable banks to be more transparent about their exposure to climate-related risks and opportunities, in line with the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

“The physical impacts of climate change may pose a risk to banks’ loan portfolios. The innovative methodologies…provide foundations which can be built upon, as research and data analytics improve,” said Acclimatise’s Chief Technical Officer, Dr Richenda Connell. “Once banks understand the scale of the risks, this will be a milestone that will encourage other corporates to take climate risk management seriously. Building resilience to physical climate impacts also presents banks with investment opportunities. Those that understand this best will have a competitive advantage.”

The methodologies demonstrate that physical risks will worsen if the global economy continues on its current greenhouse gas emissions pathway. Future negative impacts could be reduced somewhat, but not avoided completely, if strenuous and rapid efforts are made globally to cut emissions.

The guidance also aims to inform banks’ strategies to support clients in adapting to changing conditions. Clients who face physical risks may need to make investments to become more climate-resilient. What’s more, global markets are developing for providers of climate-related products and services, as companies such as engineering and technology providers are identifying opportunities to capitalise on shifting market trends. Banks may have opportunities to support these investments.

A separate, complementary report focused on the assessment of transition risks and opportunities, was published in April.

“For financial institutions and other market actors, effectively managing and responding to climate change always means two things: understanding and responding to the intensifying physical impacts of unavoidable climate change; and also mitigating the risks and seizing the opportunities from the decarbonisation of the economy,” said Eric Usher, Head of UNEP Finance Initiative.

“We are proud of our collaboration with these 16 leading banks and Acclimatise in the development of methods and tools that will help the global financial industry respond to climate change in a holistic manner, spanning both the physical and transition dimensions of the challenge.”

The banks leading this work and currently piloting the methodologies are ANZ, Barclays, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Bradesco, Citi, DNB, Itaú Unibanco, National Australia Bank, Rabobank, Royal Bank of Canada, Santander, Société Générale, Standard Chartered, TD Bank Group and UBS.

Download a copy of the ‘Navigating a new climate’ report from here.

Access the webinar recordings by clicking here.

For more information, please contact Acclimatise’s communications team:

Will Bugler w.bugler@acclimatise.uk.com and Elisa Jiménez Alonso e.jimenez-alonso@acclimatise.uk.com

 

Climate finance from multilateral development banks hit record high of $35.2 billion in 2017

Climate finance from multilateral development banks hit record high of $35.2 billion in 2017

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso

Climate financing by the world’s six largest multilateral development banks (MDBs) rose to a seven-year high of $35.2 billion in 2017. That equals an increase of nearly 30 per cent on the previous year, boosting projects that help developing countries cut emissions and address climate risks.

The MDBs’ latest joint report on climate financing said $27.9 billion, or 79 per cent of the 2017 total, was devoted to climate mitigation projects that aim to reduce harmful emissions and slow down global warming.

The remaining 21 per cent, or $7.4 billion, of financing for emerging and developing nations was invested in climate adaptation projects that help economies deal with the effects of climate change such as unusual rainfall patterns, worsening droughts and extreme weather events.

While the boost in climate finance is a welcome development, climate change adaptation is still severely underfunded. Adaptation and mitigation should not to be seen as competing interests, rather they are complementary strategies to a problem that needs addressing from several different angles. As such, the need to scale up finance is urgent for both, however, adaptation has a lot of catching up to do.

According to UNEP, global estimates on the costs of adaptation suggest that between $280 billion and $500 billion need to be spent each year by 2050 in order to build climate resilience under higher emission scenarios. This massive finance gap is already noticeable in developing countries, many of which are on the frontlines of climate change.

The mobilisation of financial resources for climate adaptation (and mitigation) is a very important signal of political will and commitment to respond to climate change and its associated impacts.


Read the full press release about the joint report here and download the full document by clicking here.

Cover photo by UN Women/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).
New approach puts theory of Climate-Resilient Agriculture into practice on the ground

New approach puts theory of Climate-Resilient Agriculture into practice on the ground

South Asia has a population of roughly 1.75 billion people, 25% of whom fall below the international poverty line, and 70% live in rural areas of whom the majority, especially women, rely on agriculture for their livelihood. Despite being predominantly agrarian, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal are net importers of food. Climate change adds further stress to this highly challenging socio-economic situation. Climate change, in the form of increased temperatures, erratic precipitation, uncertain seasons and increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, is expected to exacerbate food security challenges by impacting food production, disrupting supply chains and raising food prices.

Since 2014 the Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme has been actively working in five South Asian countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan – to help national and sub-national governments mainstream adaptation to climate change into development planning and delivery systems. ACT has championed Climate-Resilient Agriculture (CRA) as an approach to increasing the resilience of agricultural systems on which billions rely. CRA is a subset of Climate-Smart Agriculture which has a broader focus that includes interventions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

The ACT learning paper introduces a framework of practical entry points at the national and local level to operationalise CRA. The framework targets the full agricultural process from farm to market with the following entry-points for increasing resilience:

  • Policy and institutions;
  • Finance;
  • Information and knowledge management;
  • Technology and asset management.

The paper explores these entry-points through examples of CRA supported by the ACT programme. It also identifies and discusses the challenges and knowledge gaps that currently exist in interacting and working with governments and organisations on CRA and a set of overarching lessons from the programme.

South Asia will face increased warming, increased extreme temperatures (including heat waves), increased incidences of extreme precipitation and sea level rise as a result of climate change. This in turn carries the potential for social unrest, economic downturn and political upheaval and threats to national and local food security. Therefore, there is an urgent need to scale up climate resilient agriculture across South Asia. ACT’s framework provides a range of practical entry-points that can operationalise and scale-up CRA across the region.


The full ACT learning paper “Climate-Resilient Agriculture in South Asia: An analytical framework and insights from practice” and a learning brief can be accessed by clicking here.

Listen to the two 60-second audio abstracts:

ACT (Action on Climate Today) is an initiative funded with UK aid from the UK government and managed by Oxford Policy Management (OPM).

For more information, please contact:

Cover photo by Nandhu Kumar on Unsplash.
New study finds legal sector demand for climate services very likely to increase in near future

New study finds legal sector demand for climate services very likely to increase in near future

By Richard Bater

Law, and therefore legal services, will be indispensable to achieving a just transition to a low-carbon economy, as well as to ensuring that societies are resilient in the face of future climate-related risk. This renders the legal profession an essential actor, be it through crafting clear and robust legislation, ensuring compliance, or upholding constitutional rights.

New research by Acclimatise, that examines the legal sector’s demand for climate services, finds that whilst climate change has ranked very low on the sector’s agenda this has started to change during the last three years. This is partly attributable to new legislation – which increased 20-fold during the 20 years to 2017 to reach 1,200 laws – but is also due to the increasing recognition on the part of lawyers and their clients that climate change means material risk.  In future, individuals and organisations will increasingly solicit advice as to what their legal duties are vis-à-vis climate change in respect of existing (and forthcoming) laws and established legal doctrines, as well as to be shielded from climate-related litigation.

Climate change is cross-cutting and raises implications – to a greater or lesser degree – across the majority of areas of legal practice, from professional negligence, to product defect, to directors’ duties, to climate disclosure, to constitutional rights. Legal risks can arise, for example, where climate change results in organisations breaching existing compliance requirements (e.g. water quality standards).  With the reinterpretation of common law doctrines in light of climate change, failure to become adequately informed about – and manage – climate-related risk could lead directors to be in breach of directors’ duties. As Jason Betts, Partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, has observed, in order to mitigate litigation risk “companies across all sectors must ensure that the impact of climate change events – both those they may contribute to and those that might affect their businesses and profitability – are risk-assessed, costed and, where material, disclosed to the market.”

Emerging disclosure arrangements – such as those promoted by the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) – are putting climate-related risk on the boardroom agenda. By rendering climate risk a material issue that must be dealt with by organisations today, such initiatives help to bring organisational decision making on climate change into line with the timeframes within which action must be taken to limit the magnitude and risks of climate change.

Climate change adaptation, from a legal perspective, requires a highly collaborative approach; the bringing together of a range of legal skills and expertise.

– Mark Baker-Jones

Accurately disclosing climate-related risks – and proving disclosure breaches – is just one area that can require multi-disciplinary expertise, spanning climate and legal services. Indeed, as reflected by Mark Baker-Jones, more broadly “climate change adaptation, from a legal perspective, requires a highly collaborative approach; the bringing together of a range of legal skills and expertise.”  Underdevelopment of tailored climate services partly explains the hesitation of regulators to impose more stringent requirements: if regulatory provisions step too far beyond what is able to be reliably measured in a comparable way, regulators cannot be certain that regulations are being complied with and producing the change intended. Improving the robustness of harmonised and comparable climate risk metrics is essential. As Baker-Jones has also stated, “what is missing is the translation of that [climate] knowledge into practical advice and guidelines that those leading the private sector can understand and apply…Whether it is redefining the point at which liability is incurred or introducing new levels of liability where before there appeared to be none, climate change law is driving a reinterpretation of some fundamental principles of duty and responsibility.”

The study identifies several key ways in which climate services can better address the sector’s needs:

  • Develop the science of climate attribution, impact modelling, and integrated socio-economic climate impact models (including counter-factual scenario modelling);
  • Rigour, resolution, and comparability are the three highest ranking criteria of climate-related information;
  • Increase dialogue between legal services, climate scientists, and climate services;
  • Communicate climate knowledge in ways intelligible to legal audiences, including how findings correspond with legal standards of proof;
  • Develop a quality assurance regime for climate services providers.

Where climate science is evolving rapidly, there needs to be more accessible regularly-updated, spatially-nuanced communication of the state of climate (attribution) science that summarises the ‘consensus’ view to legal and other audiences in mind. A thorough record of this could become a touchstone for what is considered – and what was considered – ‘reasonably foreseeable’ at a given point in time, both guiding decision making in the present and enabling future accountability for harm.

The case study was led by Acclimatise under the MArket Research for a Climate Services Observatory (MARCO) programme. MARCO, a 2-year project coordinated by European Climate-KIC, hopes that research such as this will help to remove the barriers to the growth of the climate services industry across Europe.

Download the full case study “Legal Services” by clicking here.


Please check the MARCO website for the full suite of MARCO case studies.

The MARCO project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program under Grant Agreement 730272.

New study shows billions of urban citizens at risk of climate-related impacts by 2050

New study shows billions of urban citizens at risk of climate-related impacts by 2050

New research by Acclimatise, C40, the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), and Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy reveals number of cities and citizens threatened by direct and indirect climate hazards if global greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked. Bold climate action by cities is key to prevent 1.6 billion people being exposed to extreme heat, 800 million to coastal flooding, and 650 million to droughts. 

Billions of people in thousands of cities around the world will be at risk from climate-related heatwaves, drought, flooding, food shortages, blackouts and social inequality by mid-century without bold and urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, cities around the world are delivering bold climate solutions to avert these outcomes and create a healthier, safer, more equal and prosperous future for all urban citizens.

This new research predicts how many urban residents will face potentially devastating heat waves, flooding and droughts by 2050 if global warming continues on its current trajectory. The Future We Don’t Want – How climate change could impact the world’s greatest cities also looks at indirect climate impacts and estimates how climate change under a ‘business-as-usual scenario’ will impact urban food security and energy systems as well as the urban poor, who are most vulnerable to climate change.

Headline findings include that, by 2050

The Future We Don’t Want also contains concrete examples of bold climate solutions that cities are delivering, which, if adopted at-scale, could help prevent the worst impacts of climate change. The research was launched at the Adaptation Futures conference in Cape Town, where representatives of cities around the world are sharing ideas on how to prepare and adapt their cities for the effects of climate change.

“For decades, scientists have been warning of the risks that climate change will pose from increasing global temperatures, rising sea levels, growing inequality and water, food and energy shortages. Now we have the clearest possible evidence of just what these impacts will mean for the citizens of the world’s cities, said Mark Watts, Executive Director C40 Cities. “This is the future that nobody wants. Our research should serve as a wake-up call on just how urgently we need to be delivering bold climate action.”

“For most C40 cities, the impacts of climate change are not a far-off threat. From Cape Town to Houston, Mayors are seeing severe droughts, storms, fires and more,” said Antha Williams, Head of Environmental Programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies and C40 Board Member, “As this report shows, C40 mayors are on the front line of climate change, and the actions they take today–to use less energy in buildings, transition to clean transportation and reduce waste—are necessary to ensure prosperity and safety for their citizens.”

“Climate change is already happening, and the world’s great cities are feeling the impact. Cape Town is facing an unprecedented drought, but thanks to the efforts of our citizens to adapt, we have averted Day Zero, when we would have had to switch off most taps,” said Patricia de Lille, Executive Mayor of Cape Town and Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy Board Member. “The lessons from Cape Town, and from this important new research is that every city must invest today in the infrastructure and policies that will protect citizens from the future effects of our changing global climate.”

City climate solutions featured in the report include:

  • Extreme heat: Seoul has planted 16 million trees and expanded its green space by 3.5 million m2. The city has also set up shaded cooling centres for those unable to access air conditioning.
  • Flooding: New York City is improving coastal flood mapping, strengthening coastal defences and building smaller, strategically placed local storm surge barriers around the city.
  • Drought: São Paulo has set up reward schemes to incentivise citizens to use less water, whilst investing in the city’s pipeline system to reduce water leakage.
  • Urban food security: Paris plans to establish 33 hectares of urban agriculture within the city’s boundaries by 2020. By 2050, 25 percent of the city’s food supply will be produced in the Île-de-France region
  • Energy Supply: London is improving drainage infrastructure to ensure key infrastructure can withstand heavy flooding, whilst also encouraging decentralised energy supply to reduce the risk of blackouts if any one power source is damaged.
  • Extreme heat & poverty: Lima’s Barrio Mío programme created a poverty map of the city helping policy makers to focus resources on the most vulnerable and under-served areas where people are most exposed to heat risks.

Download the full report by clicking here.


Cover photo by Arto Marttinen on Unsplash