Furthering the daunting picture painted by the changing atmospheric conditions, the latest report by risk consultancy firm Mapelcroft has Mumbai among its list of cities that are at extreme physical and economic risk due to changes in climactic conditions. According to it, Mumbai’s proximity to the coast and the surrounding hilly terrain are the reasons why it is featured in Maplecroft’s sixth annual Climate Change Vulnerability Index.
“Pollution generated locally is usually swept away by wind blowing in from the sea. In Mumbai’s case, however, it is surrounded by hilly terrains and numerous mountain ranges that lock this air within the area. Also, the extreme humidity tends to hold on to particulate matter for a longer time.
We think it’s factors that put it at risk of extreme weather events and climate change,” explained Gufran Beig, scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.
Apart from Mumbai, the other cities under extreme risk include Dhaka, Kolkata, Manila and Bangkok. London and Paris were the two major cities at a lower risk. The 50 cities included in the study were evaluated on three factors — exposure to extreme climate change events, sensitivity of populations in terms of health, agriculture etc and the adaptive capacity of the countries to combat the impacts of climate change.
In the study, India is also among the top 20 countries facing the threat of a significant economic impact brought on by climate change. India’s economic exposure to the impacts of extreme climate-related events was recently highlighted by cyclone Phailin. The report highlighted how the storm caused devastation to agriculture and power sectors alone in the state of Odisha, to the tune of almost $4.15 billion.
How it affects economics
South Asian countries are tremendously affected by the condition, even though they are not major contributors to pollution
Sunita Narain, director general of the Centre for Science and Environment said, “We are heavily impacted by irregularities in climate. The poorest countries are not big contributors but are still the most impacted.”