Cyclone Michaung wreaks havoc in Southern India

Cyclone Michaung wreaks havoc in Southern India as it intensifies into a severe storm. Warmer oceans are the primary reason for the storm which is closely linked to Arctic Sea ice... READ MORE

Confirmed: 2023 set to be the warmest year on record

The WMO provisional State of the Global Climate report confirms that 2023 is set to be the warmest year on record, regardless of the final two months of... READ MORE

Colossal Antarctic iceberg, five times larger than New York City, breaks free and drifts away from region

On November 24th, scientists from the Bristish Antarctic Survey (BAS) were astonished to observe an iceberg measuring around 4,000 square kilometers (more than twice the size of Greater London) drifting away from the... READ MORE

World surpasses critical warming threshold for the first time

On November 17th, global temperatures reached 2.07°C above pre-industrial levels for the first time on record.... READ MORE

Unexpected disintegration of ice shelves in North Greenland

Alarm bells ringing as rapid disintegration and weakening of ice shelves in North Greenland is observed!... READ MORE

COUNTDOWN

CO2 Budget Depletion

UN SUSTAINABILITY DEVELOPMENT GOALS

SDG 11 - SUSTAINABLE CITIES & COMMUNITIES

 

Loss of Arctic sea ice and snow drives global heat stress, making already-hot parts of the world unbearable for living and working. Warming in the Arctic changes jet stream patterns, which in 2022, has led to extended heat stress throughout much of Europe and Asia. Elsewhere, by 2050, Southeast Asia could see a 16% reduction in labour productivity because of the rise in heat stress.

GLOBAL

The effects of climate change, such as sea level rise and more frequent and intense extreme weather, threaten cities’ (particularly coastal) and communities’ development. Arctic loss of ice and snow amplifies the risk of global heat stress, making cities and communities in already-hot parts of the world unbearably hot to live and work in. At 2°C global warming, it is estimated that the South Asian mean population’s exposure to unsafe air temperatures would double. By 2050, Southeast Asia could see a 16 percent reduction in labor productivity because of the rise in heat stress. Singapore would experience the most significant drop in productivity at 25 percent, followed by 24 percent in Malaysia and 21 percent in Indonesia. Sea level rise and extreme weather events like tropical cyclones also challenge the sustainability of built environments. This is especially true within coastal communities and some of the world’s biggest, most densely populated cities, including New York, Miami, Bangkok, Shanghai, Kolkata, Mumbai and Dhaka. Homes and workplaces throughout the world will require financial and technological modifications to adapt to new weather norms. Indonesia has decided to relocate its capital from Jakarta to Borneo because roughly 40 percent of Jakarta is already under water (Renaldi, 2022). 

Globally, approximately 600 million people reside in coastal areas where roughly US$1 trillion of global wealth is concentrated. These areas are increasingly threatened by sea level rise. 

ARCTIC

While Arctic communities, and particularly Indigenous Peoples, have generally contributed little to climate change, the eight Arctic nations (e.g., the U.S., Canada, and Russia) account for just over 20 percent of the world’s emissions (WWF Arctic, 2020). With the melting Arctic’s strategic location and vast amounts of undiscovered oil, gas and minerals, becoming sustainable remains a challenge for the Arctic.   

Considering itself a “near-Arctic” state and having become increasingly active in the region, China is planning a Polar Silk Road. This Polar Silk Road forms a network of shipping routes that connect Western Europe, North America and East Asia through the Arctic Ocean (Silk Road Briefing, 2021). However, increased Arctic shipping brings its own emissions and climate impacts from heavy diesel fuel, and the threat of oil spills that threaten sustainable development in the Arctic.

BACK TO SDG PAGE

Want to contribute?

  • Do you want to help us make this page more complete? Reach out.
  • Explore our solutions page to find out what you can do.
  • Take action!
  • Stay up to date by subscribing to our monthly newsletter (link in the menu bar at the top of the page)

ARCTIC RISK INDICATORS

The following gauges show up-to-date data regarding key indicators in the Arctic. These indicators clearly point to the crisis at hand.

Greenland rate of ice loss
13 million l/s
on average
13 million tonnes/s
on average
Arctic Sea Ice Extent
422,499 km²
below 1981-2010 average on 26-May-2024
163,127 mi²
below 1981-2010 average on 26-May-2024
Arctic Amplification
4 times
faster than global average
Arctic 66N+ Wildfire emissions
44.04 megatonnes CO₂e
CO₂e emissions in 2024 so far
Arctic Air Quality (PM2.5)
2.63 microgram per cubic meter
on 27-May-2024
Global mean Sea Level
3.4mm/year
since 1993