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Climate crisis: 80% cities will be warmer in three decades

Cities to undergo dramatic, even disastrous changes by 2050, Swiss study finds.

A survey carried out by Swiss Crowther Lab researchers and published in an online scientific publication Plos One shows that 77% percent of cities will experience drastic climate change. And that is the best case scenario.

We only have 11 years until passing the point of no return. If carbon emissions remain unabated, the Earth will be 1.5° C warmer by 2100 and the costs of climate change under a business as usual scenario will exceed $12 trillion by 2050, researches warn.

Cities currently in moderate or cold zones in the northern hemisphere are expected to be similar in three decades to cities that are also more than 1,000 kilometers closer to the equator. By 2050 cities of the world will have become hotter, in particular during the winter and the summer. Wet seasons will be wetter and dry seasons drier.

According to the published study, which included 520 major cities around the world, global warming in European cities is expected to warm up by 3.5°C in the summer and 4.7°C in the winter. Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, is the city that will warm up the most – the warmest month is expected to warm Ljubljana as much as 8°C. Swiss researchers also warn that temperature changes can be accompanied by severe drought.

Tropical regions will experience smaller changes in temperature, but significant shifts in precipitation with the wettest months being 5% wetter and the driest months 14% drier. Overall the tropics will become drier and droughts more severe.

To be concrete: By 2050 London will have a similar climate to Barcelona today. In Madrid as in the Moroccan Marrakech in Stockholm as in Budapest, Moscow will be like Sofia, and New York will be comparable to Virginia.

Tom Crowther, founder of Crowther Lab, warned that one fifth of the world, including Jakarta, Singapore, Yangon and Kuala Lumpur, will experience conditions that are currently not felt by any major city in the world and therefore we are not equipped to deal with them.

Future conditions for the year 2050 were calculated based on the IPCC’s Representative Concentration Pathway RCP4.5, which represents an optimistic scenario where the implementation of mitigation policies will have stabilized CO2 emissions by the mid-century and the mean global temperature will have increased by 1.4° C. Therefore, results of the study represent a best case scenario.

What can we do? The time to act was yesterday. In 2015, Agenda 2030 for sustainable development, a plan of action for people, planet, peace, partnership and prosperity, with 17 goals, was adopted. Countries declared they are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.

Bridge 47 believes Global Citizenship Education is the key to achieving all SDGs as it works not only by empowering learners of all ages to understand that these are global, not local issues but also to become active promoters of more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable societies. Societies that will take a much needed stand and action for dealing with climate crisis.

So, we have the plan, we have the tool. What is stopping us?


 Projekt Bridge 47 sooblikuje in izvaja 15 evropskih in globalnih organizacij civilne družbe, med njimi je tudi platforma SLOGA. Namen projekta je mobilizacija civilne družbe, da s pomočjo globalnega učenja prispeva k pravičnosti in izkoreninjenju revščine po svetu. Projekt Bridge 47 sofinancirata Evropska unija in Ministrstvo za zunanje zadeve Republike Slovenije.Bridge 47 logotipi