A global economic assessment of city policies to reduce climate change impacts

This report provides a quantitative assessment of the economic costs of the joint impacts of local and global climate change for all main cities around the world. The study was conducted by an international team of economists looking at the combined impact of global and local climate change on urban economies, with a focus on urban heat. Published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the analysis of 1,692 cities shows that the total economic costs of climate change for cities this century could be 2.6 times higher when heat island effects are taken into account than when they are not.

Cost–benefit analyses are presented for urban heat island mitigation options, including green and cool roofs and cool pavements. The most effective and least expensive measure, according to this modeling, is a moderate-scale installation of both cool pavements and roofs. Changing 20% of a city’s roofs and half of its pavements to ‘cool’ forms could save up to 12 times what they cost to install and maintain, and reduce air temperatures by about 0.8 degrees.

The research finds that local actions can be a climate risk-reduction instrument - and that the positive impacts of local interventions are amplified when global efforts are also implemented. For example, limiting the urban heat island through city adaptation plans can significantly expand the benefits of international mitigation efforts.



Publication Date: May 29, 2017

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Francisco Estrada
  • W. J. Wouter Botzen
  • Richard S. J. Tol


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Academic research paper


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