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Cities at risk: dealing with the pressures of climate change

  • Date Updated: October 2019

An interactive map to show the main climate threats for cities.

Managing climate risk cannot be done without properly measuring it. CDP gathered data to show the top five hazards faced by cities. These hazards are flash/surface flooding, heat waves, rain storms, extreme hot days and droughts. The impacts of climate change which, unchecked, will subject populations to untold risk and suffering, push already struggling services to the brink and undermine city government's efforts to protect their citizens.

The first step to managing risk, is to measure it. In 2018, over 620 cities disclosed climate and environmental data to CDP. 530 of these cities - representing a combined population of 517 million - reported on climate hazards. CDP created an interactive map. Click on the circles to explore which cities reported which hazards to CDP in 2018 and learn more about their hazard scores. 

Climate risk has to be managed first and foremost for citizens. Indeed with rapid, unprecedented urban growth expected to continue in the coming decades, cities' vital infrastructure and social care services are already under pressure. Climate change is only set to exacerbate these existing social and economic challenges, as its physical impacts are set to bring major disruption to government and business operations.

Building resilience will be key for urban policymakers, and will provide many co-benefits, making cities wealthier and healthier places to live and work. CDP data shows that cities are already enacting policies to build resilience with flood mapping (167 cities), crisis management (126 cities), community engagement (106 cities), tree planting (99 cities) and long-term planning (88 cities) being the most reported actions.

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