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For Cities, Climate Change Is as Much Global as Local

Sep 29, 2017 | 09:15 GMT
A woman in a kayak paddles down a Houston road flooded in late August by rains from Hurricane Harvey.

A woman in a kayak paddles down a Houston road flooded in late August by rains from Hurricane Harvey.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The devastation caused to the city of Houston by Hurricane Harvey was still in the news when Hurricane Irma struck a number of Caribbean islands before grazing dangerously past Tampa, Florida, and Hurricane Maria severely damaged Puerto Rico. Out of the glare of the international media, extreme rainfall in eastern India caused even greater damage, killing more than a thousand people. Global warming did not birth these storms. However, climate change effectively acts as a "threat multiplier." The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asserts that, going forward, climate change will make bigger storm surges, rising sea levels, heavy precipitation events and extreme heat waves "very likely" and will make more intense hurricanes "likely." Cities are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and are among the most vulnerable to climatic events. They also are increasingly emerging as significant problem-solvers in climate change....

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