The Future We Don’t Want analysis shows that, unless governments take urgent steps to cut emissions, over 1.6 billion people living in close to 1,000 cities will face regular, extreme heatwaves in under 30 years’ time. To put this in perspective, that is equivalent to more than 40 percent of today’s total urban population. The report also shows that Asia and the Middle East are already home to many cities that experience extreme temperatures.
By 2050, the number of exposed cities in these regions will increase significantly, with hundreds more cities at risk. The research also shows that regions that currently have few cities that deal with extreme heat, average summertime temperature highs of 35°C (95°F), will see exposure rise dramatically. Eastern China; southern, western and northern Africa; North America and parts of South America will be especially affected. Rising urban populations in these regions is partially to blame for the increased exposure; over the next 30 years 90 percent of urbanisation is expected to be concentrated in Asia and Africa alone.