Effect of global warming on cities
The report, "Climate: Observations, projections and impacts," examined how climate change will modify the weather in 24 countries around the world.
While findings vary from region to region, it forecasts an overall increase in this century of coastal and river floods, extreme weather events and a global temperature rise of between 3-5C, if emissions are left unchecked.
According to climate change experts, cities from New York in the U.S. to Dhaka in Bangladesh are likely to be heavily affected.
"In America alone -- New York, Miami, New Orleans -- these cities face terrible exposure to floods, and unlike cities such as Rotterdam (in the Netherlands) -- they do not have the defenses to prevent them."
Aside from increased instances of heat-related deaths, particularly among the elderly population, Dodman says that the "wicked irony" of the urban heat island effect is that it stimulates a demand for air conditioning.
"In places like Delhi, we're seeing a growing middle class use their wealth to pay for electricity-hungry air-conditioning units, which contribute to global warming, and this of course creates a negative feedback loop."
"Even in a developed city like London, which is very well protected by the Thames barrier, high intensity rainfall could create problems with the old sewage system -- causing the potential spread of microbial disease."