Sunderland and Newcastle named among cities at risk of flooding and blackouts by 2050

Sunderland and Newcastle have been named among cities facing effects of climate change such as floods and blackouts by 2050, research has warned.

Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 3:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 5:08 pm
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The Wearside and Tyneside cities will share the fate of others around the world caused by rising temperatures including heatwaves, flooding, food and water shortages and blackouts without urgent action to curb greenhouse gases.

Middlesbrough - though not a city - has been included on the list, which also features Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast and London.

It has been called "the future that nobody wants" in the study by C40 Cities, a group of cities taking action on climate change, the Global Covenant of Mayors, the Urban Climate Change Research Network and climate advisory company Acclimatise.

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But researchers said authorities in cities around the world are taking steps to protect their citizens from the impacts of climate change.

Rising sea levels, storm surges and more rain mean Sunderland and Newcastle face the threat of tidal, river and flash flooding.

But the report said UK cities are also vulnerable to overheating and drought-like conditions, while hotter summers increase demand for air conditioning, putting more pressure on energy supplies.

UK power plants supplying the cities are located around the coast and are vulnerable to flooding which could lead to blackouts, while electricity substations are also at risk of local floods, the report said.

Worldwide, 70% of cities are already dealing with the effects of climate change, and nearly all are at risk, the report warned.

More than 800million city-dwellers will be vulnerable to sea level rises and coastal flooding by 2050, including 30 million in European cities, and 470 million will face power supplies at risk from rising seas.

Around 650million people will be at risk of water shortages as a result of climate change, including in Athens and Madrid, and 1.6 billion people living in 970 cities, will be regularly exposed to extreme high temperatures.

And 2.5billion people will be living in cities where national food supplies are threatened by climate change, including residents of Barcelona, Moscow and Oslo.

Mark Watts, executive director of C40 Cities said: "For decades, scientists have been warning of the risks that climate change will pose from increasing global temperatures, rising sea levels, growing inequality and water, food and energy shortages.

"Now we have the clearest possible evidence of just what these impacts will mean for the citizens of the world's cities.

"This is the future that nobody wants. Our research should serve as a wake-up call on just how urgently we need to be delivering bold climate action."