‘Heat Islands’ Double the Cost of Climate Change in the World’s Largest Cities

The built environment, whether concrete structures or paved roads, absorbs heat, increasing the impact of global warming — but alternative materials could be a relatively cheap way to reduce temperature rise.

An international team of economists has found that large cities may shoulder a disproportionate burden from climate change due to the amplifying effect of urban heat islands. While warming cities will bring big energy costs, researchers say they may also offer important insight into the role of local policy in climate change mitigation.

In a study published today in Nature Climate Change, researchers in Mexico, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom analyzed nearly 1,700 cities around the world. When the urban heat island effect was taken into account, they found that the economic cost of climate change for these cities would be 2.6 times higher than previously thought.




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