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Asian Cities’ Endless Summer

Asia’s urban areas already experience twice as many hot days as its rural areas do – and could experience ten times as many by 2100. And so far, governments have not done nearly enough to assess Asia’s exposure to climate impacts, much less to strengthen protections for vulnerable areas or reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

POTSDAM/MANILA – It’s monsoon season in Asia – marking an end to months of scorching temperatures. But the extreme heat will return, with cities facing particularly brutal conditions. Already, Asia’s urban areas experience twice as many hot days as its rural areas do – and could experience ten times as many by 2100. At that point, there will be no reversing the trend.

The first detailed assessment of climate risk for Asia, carried out by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), makes clear that Asia’s cities stand at the frontline of the fight against climate change. Indeed, many consequences of a hotter planet – such as more extreme weather events, sea-level rise, environmental migration, and mounting social tensions – intersect in urban areas.

This is particularly true in Asia, where cities house more than half of the population and produce almost 80% of economic output. By 2050, Asia’s urban population could nearly double, to three billion people. Without new climate initiatives, the region’s cities could contribute more than half of the increase in global greenhouse-gas emissions over the next 20 years.

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