If our planet's temperatures were to go up by 3 degrees some of the largest cities in the world would be flooded and wiped off the map such as Shanghai. By 2050, summertime highs of 95 degrees Fahrenheit,or 35 degrees Celsius, will become the new normal in nearly 1,000 cities, triple the number of cities that currently experience these sweltering temperatures.
Cities are not just affected by climate change, they're also causing it. Cities consume between 60 and 80 percent of global energy resourcesand account for approximately 70 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. While it's true that cities are contributing to climate change, they're also key actors in forging low carbon emission pathways. In dense cities like New York City and Tokyo, for instance, the average residentis responsible for over two tons of carbon dioxide emissions per capita. This is less than a single passenger car emits in a single year in the United States.
Cities around the world are stepping up to tackle climate change, with ambitious policiesthat often exceed the requirements of national governments. Take Copenhagen, for example. It's committed to become carbon neutral by 2025, and Glasgow in Scotland also plans to become carbon neutral by 2030. Today, there are more than 10,000 cities all around the world that are committing to their own ambitious climate actions, plans that include emissions reduction targets, clean energy and sustainable transit projects, and also energy efficiency policiesthat can save people and cities money, energy and emissions.
While this potential for cities' climate action sounds really promising, cities must work to make sure that these policies are implemented fairly and equitably. Where you live in a city, your income, your race research is showingthat these factors can determine your access to environmental benefits like green space and sustainable transit, and they can also determine your share of environmental burdens like air pollution and climate change.
The latest research shows that 97 percent of major urban areas in the United States are exposing Black populations and people of colour to a full degree Celsius higher of urban heat than their white counterparts.