Among the many health effects of climate change that cities will face, heat waves are some of the most dangerous since they pose a direct risk to citizens — especially elderly populations and low-income families — and can strain infrastructure.
If countries follow through on their Paris Agreement pledges to limit global warming, hundreds of heat deaths in cities could be averted, according to a new report published in the journal Science Advances.
Besides greenhouse gas reduction strategies to reduce global warming, cities are also taking steps to reduce the heat island effect, which makes urban areas more vulnerable to heat waves. Green roofs, repainting dark surfaces and increased tree planting can all help lower temperatures in summer months; smart surfaces have also been shown to make infrastructure cooler and more resilient. The report is a reminder that avoiding the worst effects of climate change must go beyond reducing emissions to adapting to changing weather.