Special Report

The Worst Cities to Live As Climate Change Gets Worse

2021 was the world’s sixth-warmest year on record, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This was an improvement over 2019 and 2020, which ranked among the top three warmest on record, but it wasn’t cause for celebration. The ocean heat content – a measure of the amount of heat stored in the upper levels of oceans – broke another record high in 2021, surpassing the previous record high set in 2020.

Average sea levels have risen over 8 inches since 1880, with about 3 inches over the past 25 years, according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program. This acceleration is expected to continue in the foreseeable future, and the NOAA predicts average sea levels to rise 10-12 inches along the U.S. coastline by 2050. At those levels, infrastructure along even the most developed coastlines would be overwhelmed, increasing the frequency of devastating flooding in the same manner as we have already begun to witness in many parts of the world. Indeed, the problem is global.

To find the 25 popular cities in the world that would be most impacted by climate change in the next 20-30 years, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a study, 2050 Climate Change City Index, published in Nestpick, a platform for furnished rental apartments. The study includes 85 cities that are top destinations and that had data in research papers used for this report. Each city was rated across three categories: sea-level, climate, and water shortage. Cities are ranked by their total score (out of 100). A score of 100 indicates the most extreme changes in climate over the next three decades.

The 25 popular cities with the greatest exposure to the effects of global warming, including rising sea levels and water shortage, have an overall risk score of between 28.6 for Oslo, Norway, to 100 for Bangkok, Thailand. These popular global destinations include rich cities like New York and London as well as poorer ones like Manila in the Philippines and Nairobi in Kenya. (Here are countries where climate change is most evident.)

Though most of these cities have large populations, three are home to fewer than a million people: the metropolitan area of New Orleans, Cardiff, U.K., and Marrakesh, Morocco.

Six of these 25 cities on this list are located in East Asia or Southeast Asia, including Manila, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Seoul, South Korea. Five of these cities are located in the United States, due to the number of its popular cities located adjacent to bodies of water. (Some of these popular cities are home to human made landmarks climate change is destroying.)

Here are the most popular cities in the world most impacted by climate change.

Click here to read our detailed methodology.

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