Vulnerability to severe heat waves is becoming an issue of inequality as global temperatures rise. With the Northern Hemisphere facing its warmest summer on record this year that led to numerous deaths, ABC’s Blueprint for living asked how equipped Australian cities are to cope with the reality of 50 degrees within the next few decades.
According to Associate Professor Marco Amati who was interviewed in an article and radio podcast, we urgently need to start planning and adapting as we enter “unknown territory” with huge economic and health consequences. While some of the necessary infrastructural changes are costly and investment-heavy, there are simple solutions such as painting roofs white, urban greening and adapting our schedules that can reduce harm from heat while providing other benefits. Importantly, we also need to limit the severity of these future weather extremes by tackling climate change while it is still an option.
Marco Amati is leading the CAUL Hub’s Urban Systems for Liveability project, which includes research on urban vegetation to mitigate heat. Find out more here.
Featured image credit: Vincent dan Dam via flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)