For centuries, cities have led commercial development, economic growth, technological developments and innovation. One of the society’s greatest challenges in the coming decades is the fight against climate change and the energy transition, and cities must show their leadership to make possible the necessary change of the energy model, and themselves be the motors of change.
In a special assessment report, the United Nations has issued a severe warning of what will occur in cities if the temperature continues to rise at the current pace. The consequences will be uncontrollable: rising sea level, extreme weather events, increasingly common heat waves and intense periods of drought, not to mention devastating forest fires and hundreds of species going extinct in rural areas.
The cities that could end up being submerged due to the poles melting
Hundreds of coastal urban centres could be submerged by rising sea levels due to climate change, according to UN climate predictions. Among them, the most affected would be Osaka (Japan), Alexandria (Egypt), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Shanghai (China), though others like Venice (Italy), New York and Miami (United States) would also disappear.
In some cases, like in Oceania, entire countries formed of islands could disappear underwater. In total, it is estimated that a 3-degree increase in the planet’s climate would cause over 275 million people to be displaced due to the floods caused by melting.
Spain, a critical point in climate change
Our country is not escaping the effects of climate change. In fact, according to experts, the south of the European continent will specifically be one of the areas most affected by a possible rise in temperatures.
The coastal cities of Cádiz, Coruña, Gijón, Bilbao, San Sebastián, Málaga, Alicante, Valencia and Barcelona, among others, will be threatened by the rise of the sea in the event of a 3-degree temperature increase.
In addition, the geographic peculiarities of Madrid, in the interior of the peninsula, and the high pollution of the capital, may amplify the "heat island" effect and cause an increase of temperatures of up to eight degrees. In fact, according to a study carried out by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) along with the organisation of scientists and journalists Climate Central, Madrid holds fourth place among all cities in the world that will suffer the greatest increase of temperatures from now until 2100, only behind Sofia, Skopje and Belgrade.