In 2018, India suffered over 2,081 deaths from climate-triggered extreme weather events, with an economic loss of over $37.8 billion (about three times the losses of 2017).
Parts of cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Surat and Kakinada are at risk of being under water by 2050. (Climate Central, 2019).
With India’s population expected to rise to 1.7 billion by 2065, the majority of it urban, the demand for liveable cities will be hard to square with the development first agenda.
Average temperatures in India increased by 0.6°C between 1910 and 2018.
Australia’s recent bout of bushfires, sparked by an extended drought, has devastated its local flora and fauna.
Timor Sea, Indonesia’s capital Jakarta witnessed record-breaking flooding with unseasonal rainfall.
Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru have witnessed more days of temperature exceeding 35°C in the past decade than they did in the past.
How to deal with such a crisis?
Our urban development approach needs to change from a development-first approach to a co-benefit approach.
Cities need to start planning and enacting initiatives to mitigate the climate crisis on an urgent basis. Such as cities must stop paving over soil that is water-absorbent, or building over natural floodplains. Urban initiatives need to incorporate planning for events such as heatwaves.
There is a need to coordinate with municipal departments across labour, drinking water and power which requires additional data gathering and city-level research.
We need to revamp our realty markets and must encourage local builders to factor in issues such as the rise in the sea level and climate crisis in their risk analysis, while focusing on retail assets that are future-proof.
Waste management initiatives must be kicked off in major cities such Mumbai, Surat and Kolkata. We can take help of Smart Cities Mission.