Climate change: Time now for the action plan
With climate change becoming a reality for our world to contend with, a highly detailed assessment of the likely impacts of this phenomenon in Kochi will be undertaken soon by the project partners of the Asian Cities Adapt project. The ambitious project, funded by German Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU, aims at preparing local-level climate change adaptation strategies for four Indian cities, including Kochi, Madurai, Howrah and Visakhapatnam.
“We are looking forward to the outcome of the study by International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), South Asia, and IIT Delhi, under the Asian Cities Adapt project. Based on the results, we would take the required measures in the city and draft plans for tackling the situation,” Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany said.
A stakeholders’ meet was held in the city last week, in connection with the project. Representatives from various institutions and organisations of the city, including National Institute of Oceanography, CUSAT, CMFRI, Regional Town Planning Department and Cochin Port Trust participated in the meeting. ICLEI executive Ashish Rao presented the results of the stakeholders’ perception survey and vulnerable citizens’ perception survey at the meeting while Subrat from IIT Delhi presented the observations and projected climate data for the sub-continent as well as for Kochi city.
The studies had been carried out as part of the project. The assessment highlighted the future projected changes in temperature and precipitation. Further, there were discussions with the stakeholders on the fragile urban systems of Kochi and the indicative impacts of the expected climate changes.
Now, with the first phase of the project coming to a close after the stakeholders’ meeting, the next step is the preparation of the city’s adaptation strategy and generic action plan.
“The second phase will be launched soon in close collaboration with all the stakeholders,” ICLEI Project Officer (Energy and Climate) Nagendran Nagarajan has said. According to the study conducted by ICLEI, in India, the expected increase in extreme rainfall phenomena and changes in seasonal monsoon patterns will increase the risk of major floods and the likelihood of drought, with severe consequences for the health and livelihoods of millions of people.
Despite such threats, adaptation planning and research in the field is still in its infancy, particularly at the local level. It is in such a scenario that initiatives like ‘Asian Cities Adapt’ play a crucial role as they help in creating a systematic layout for adaptation planning.