The World’s Poorest Cities Can’t Cope With Climate Change
With the majority of Earth’s 7.3 billion people now living in cities, urban centers worldwide are racing to bolster themselves and their residents against rising sea levels, more frequent flooding, hotter temperatures, and other effects of climate change before these problems become too big to manage.
But the poorest megacities, where fast-growing populations are often the most vulnerable to these impacts, may already be falling behind.
Among 10 megacities in both the developed and developing world—cities with populations greater than 3 million, a gross domestic product among the top 25 in the world, or both—climate change adaptation spending totaled about $309 billion in 2014–15, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.
It’s a lot of money, but it adds up to just 0.38 percent of the global GDP, a fraction of both global and local economies.
Further, every city spent the highest percentage of its adaptation budget on bolstering infrastructure, with spending on human welfare services including communications, disaster preparedness, and health services among the lowest percentage.