The summer of 2021 underscored that we are all affected by climate change impacts, whether in the form of heatwaves, fires, or extreme flooding. But some Americans are far more affected than others. Urban centers are hotter than rural areas due to urban heat island effect, a phenomenon caused by pavement, buildings, and other surfaces in cities that absorb and retain heat. In the United States, urban heat island effect results in a temperature difference of up to 7. degrees between cities and their surrounding rural areas. Moreover, within cities, extreme heat disproportionately harms communities of color and low-income communities. As climate change continues to raise baseline temperatures and make deadly heat waves more likely to occur, addressing urban heat island effect has become an urgent issue.
Environmental Law | Law
Smart Surfaces, Smart Cities: Reducing Heat and Promoting Equity in Urban Areas,
Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School, September 2021
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/sabin_climate_change/31