Climate Change and How Can We Adapt to Higher Temperatures

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July 2019 was the hottest month recorded in Europe according to the World Meteorological Organisation. The heat caused 13 deaths.

It is a clear indication of climate change and evidence of the world’s changing weather pattern, according to the UN Article, Climate adaptation: setting the stage for transformation published in August 2019.

Chennai in southern India, with a population of over 9 million has experienced a city-wide water shortage, the article says.

World climate summits are happening such as the  UN Climate Action Summit, COP25, and UN climate talks to discuss solutions to climate change and what can individual countries do about it. What comes to mind are the Nationally Determined Contributions, which contains the pledges of countries to the Paris Agreement, and the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), a mechanism that integrates climate risks to national plans and budgets.

The urban heat island effect, which is causing higher temperatures and humidity in building-dense areas, can be deadly. This occurrence will be exacerbated by climate change, resulting in more health problems and even deaths if not mitigated.

Some climate adaptation solutions to rising temperatures

There are ways to adapt to higher temperatures according to the conversation article, “Adapting cities to a hotter world: 3 essential reads.

1. Offer many cooling options

Aside from emergency cooling centres, cities plant more trees, installing window shades in buildings, using light-coloured materials and paints to reflect heat back, having emergency kits in case of power outages. Not to look for a single best option but needs multiple solutions to tackle the problem.

The National Weather Service has this list of reminders during extreme heat:

  • Find air conditioning
  • Avoid strenuous activities
  • Wear light clothing
  • Check on family members and neighbours
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Watch for exhaustion and heat strokes
  • Never leave people or pets in a closed car

2. Focus on Vulnerable neighbourhoods

Implementation of green infrastructure. Green infrastructure or blue-green infrastructure according to Wikipedia is a “network providing the “ingredients” for solving urban and climatic challenges by building with nature”.

Using the natural water cycles, and functions of the ecosystem particularly to manage and “treat storm-water at its source while delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits.”

Applications of green infrastructures through building green roofs covered with drought-resistant plants for cooling effect that would be most helpful in poor neighbourhoods where temperatures can be very high.

Having vegetation around them can give a cooling effect and reduce their use of air-conditioning.  Use of white paints on their roofs, can reflect the heat back and lowers temperature as well.

3. Design streets for changing climate with a focus on pedestrians not on drivers by “designing green streets for bicyclists, pedestrians, bus riders, and residents and as well as for drivers.”

Trees and bushes can work both as a barrier from cyclists and pedestrians from the main roads or highways, as well as absorb carbon emissions from cars and carbon-spewing vehicles.

Pedestrian and cycle lanes can also encourage people to walk or use their bikes to work, thus reducing the number of cars on the road as well as lessening people’s exposures to air pollution, the article says.

May these climate adaptation solutions equip you to adjust and survive hot climates. If you have some suggestions, please share it with us by posting it on the comment form at the bottom of this post.


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