"Killer Heat Forces Cities to Adapt Now or Suffer"

"Climate change abruptly gripped North America’s Pacific Coast at the start of summer, setting new heat records by staggering margins across the region’s cities and towns. Hundreds of people died.

The sudden and extreme heat disaster — matched by other recent heat waves in the Southeastern U.S., Northern Africa, Western Asia, Japan, and Europe — means many temperate cities are in for significantly warmer conditions. At the same time, cities built to withstand 20th-century heat will now face far worse.

The question of which cities and regions will be able to adapt to new extreme heat is part of the hard math of climate change. Heat researchers see this process defined by two drivers: income and climate. It’s wealth that determines which cities have the resources to defend themselves, and future heat mortality that determines if those efforts succeed.

Compare Seattle, San Antonio and Taipei, wealthy cities with vastly different climates. Each is home to professional sports teams and global corporate headquarters. These cities also now have recent severe heat waves in common. Yet heat-related deaths are projected to diverge sharply."

Eric Roston, Paul Murray, Linda Poon, Amy Yee, and Hadriana Lowenkron report for Bloomberg Green August 31, 2021.

Source: Bloomberg Green, 09/01/2021