And how will making electricity and air conditioning more expensive and less available help?
The Toronto Star reports:
Bike down a city street on a hot summer night until you pass a park and be rewarded with a blast of cool air.
This, in miniature and in reverse, is an easy way to understand what geographers and climatologists call the Urban Heat Island effect: even if a city and its rural surroundings receive the same amount of solar radiation, the city will be hotter.
But if the Urban Heat Island sounds simple, it masks a host of social thorny ramifications.
In Toronto, there is “almost a perfect overlay between poor areas and hot areas,” says Kevin Behan, deputy director of the Clean Air Partnership, an environmental group.
Mitigating the Urban Heat Island effect — which can be as easy as switching roof colours — is a matter of social justice, many experts say. And as climate change continues to amplify weather extremes, that task is increasingly urgent.
“During the summer, cities are getting a lot warmer,” says Hashem Akbari, an Urban Heat Island specialist at Concordia University in Montreal. “People need to have air conditioning, if they can afford it. If they cannot afford it, they pay for it in different ways” — with their health and sometimes with their lives.