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84 percent of the world’s fastest growing cities face ‘extreme’ climate change risks

Maplecroft has assessed the threat from climate change to 1800 cities over the next 30 years, finding that of the 100 fastest growing cities by population, 84 are rated ‘extreme risk’, with a further 14 in the ‘high risk’ category.

For its risk assessment, Maplecroft combined new UN projections on rates of annual population growth in the world’s cities with subnational data from Maplecroft’s Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI).

Over 95 percent of the 234 cities considered at ‘extreme risk’ are in Africa and Asia. At the other end of the spectrum, 86 percent of the 292 ‘low risk’ cities are located in Europe and the Americas. The five cities considered most insulated from the impacts of climate change in the CCVI, Glasgow, Belfast, Edinburgh, Preston and Middlesbrough, are all located in the UK.

Damage to infrastructure, property and assets caused by tropical cyclones or flooding are among the more obvious impacts of climate change, but the potential disruption caused by the secondary threats of disease and increases in crime and civil unrest are also significant. Drought, crop failure and instability brought on by climate change may also compound the risks by driving even larger numbers of people towards cities through cross-border and rural migration.

“Businesses operating in megacities have to understand the physical risks in the short, medium and long- term,” states Richard Hewston, Principal Climate Change and Environment Analyst. “They must work to build their resilience to climate shocks, not only to protect their assets and people, but also to satisfy investors that are increasingly factoring climate risk into their investment process.”

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