Cities facing $194bn annual bill due to floods and droughts

22nd June 2022

Web climate change risk credit i Stock 865618074

Related Topics


Chris Seekings

Climate-related floods and droughts are set to impact millions more people and cost the world’s major cities $194bn (£158bn) every year by 2050, new forecasts suggest.

In a report published today by the C40 Cities network, the researchers warn that devastating river and coastal floods will unleash enormous economic, health, and social consequences, unless urgent action is taken.

Leveraging data from the network’s nearly 100 member cities, the findings suggest that up to 2,400 hospitals and healthcare facilities could be underwater by 2050 if global warming continues unabated, with nearly half in India.

Over 300 power stations are also at risk of being flooded over the next three decades, with more than half located in the US.

Looking specifically at the world's largest cities, 7.4 million people could be exposed to severe river flooding, with damages to urban areas expected to cost $64bn per year, even with current levels of global flood protections in place.

Unequal impacts are also expected worldwide, with populations in the Global South forecast to be 10 times more likely to be affected by flooding and droughts than residents in the Global North.

“Poverty, deprivation and health inequalities will also reduce people’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from flooding incidents,” said Sadiq Khan, mayor of London and chair of C40 Cities.

“To address the climate emergency, mayors around the world need to create resilient cities that are adapted to the impacts of climate change including flooding.”

The report also forecasts more frequent and severe droughts to increase water losses in C40 cities by 26%, costing $111bn in damages per year over the next three decades.

Green solutions for water permeability and flood protection, improving water system efficiency and incorporating climate risk into urban planning are recommended to help cities adapt.

Research institutions, universities and private stakeholders, such as utility companies and insurers, are urged to share data and forecasts and incorporate these into plans to build new energy and health infrastructure.

“Sea level rise, flooding and drought are three of the most significant climate-related risks that cities face today,” said Mark Watts, executive director of C40 Cities.

“Cities have a wealth of tools and knowledge at their disposal to ensure that they are adequately preparing for the realities of the climate crisis, but effective action starts with an understanding of the scope and scale of the challenge.”

Image credit: iStock

Transform articles

UK not on track to deliver net zero, CCC warns

The UK's strategy for decarbonising the economy will not deliver net-zero emissions by 2050 if progress continues on its current trajectory, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has warned today.

29th June 2022

Read more

The UK Infrastructure Bank has today published a £22bn plan to tackle climate change and boost regional growth, making clean energy the largest area of investment.

23rd June 2022

Read more

Europe can achieve a clean, reliable and expanded power system by 2035 with a similar overall cost to current plans for a smaller and more polluting supply, new modelling has found.

22nd June 2022

Read more

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has revealed that the vast majority of its members in the pensions and long-term savings industry are now part of the UN's Race to Net Zero campaign.

9th June 2022

Read more

Three-quarters of UK pension schemes have plans to align their investments with net-zero emissions, or will do within the next two years, a recent survey has found.

26th May 2022

Read more

Tom Pashby talks about why the new Natural History GCSE is such an important step forward for climate and biodiversity preservation

26th May 2022

Read more

Tom Pashby gauges IEMA members’ reactions to recent IPCC reports

26th May 2022

Read more

Financial constraints are the biggest challenge for seven out of 10 councils when looking to achieve net-zero emissions, a survey of decision-makers at 50 UK local authorities has uncovered.

20th May 2022

Read more

The climate targets of oil and gas majors rely heavily on emissions mitigation technologies (EMTs) that are expensive and unproven at scale, analysis by Carbon Tracker has uncovered.

12th May 2022

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert