ASU professor disagrees with claims Phoenix will be "unlivable" in the coming decades

- Phoenix, the Valley of the Sun, is home to about 4.5 million people, and according to a recent article on Vice, the city could be almost unlivable by the year 2050.

The article claims it's due to climate change, and a professor with Arizona State University said while there is no doubt temperatures will get warmer over the next few decades by a few degrees, and there will be more 100 degree days, claims the city will become unlivable is a stretch, and a bit alarmist.

"We're projected to add another 2 to 3 million people over the next 20 to 30 years,  by the time we reach 2050," said David Hondula with Arizona State University's Urban Climate Research Center. "Those numbers don't suggest we're on the brink of unlivability. Instead, it suggests that this is a region that's thriving, despite our challenge with heat." 

Climate Central claims Phoenix will be 3° to 5° hotter by 2050, and 100°F days will skyrocket by about 42, to 132 days a year. Hondula said the Valley will be a few degrees warmer by then, and there will be more days above 100 degrees, but unlivable is far reaching.

"We already are a hot place over the last 10 years," said Hondula. "We've averaged more than 100 days per summer of 100°F, which means we have a lot of experience in dealing with heat."

Students agree with Hondula, and said the triple digit temps are nothing people in the Valley are not used to or can't handle.

"From an energy perspective, air conditioning during the summer here isn't necessarily worse or demanding than heating in Chicago all winter long," said Paul Chakalian.

"I also think the article overlooks the fact that those temperatures are routinely reached already in Iran, in India and places like that," said Liza Kurtz. "Those cities suffer the effects of the heat, but they're not unlivable, people do still live there."

Another thing Hondula pointed out is there are many factors that lead to heat related deaths, things like homelessness and not being able to afford air conditioning.

Hondula said the Valley is taking great steps in the right direction to solve these problems, but more does need to be done to keep people safe during the summer months.

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