If global temperatures rise by four to five degrees, a major portion of the city will be under the sea, warn experts who conducted a study on the impact of climate change in city. The study was conducted as part of the project, Asian Cities Adapt - Impacts of Climate Change in Target Cities in India and the Philippines, cordinated by European Secretariat of International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI).
The project was mainly mooted to identify the impacts of climate change and to develop concrete local adaptation strategies in four Indian cities, Kochi, Madurai, Vishakapatanam, and Howrah as well as four cities in the Philippines.
The project was launched in February 2010 and will conclude by November. Based on the observations made by the experts and to frame strategies to tackle the issues related with climatic change in Kochi, a two-day workshop will be organised in Kochi on Wednesday and Thursday. The representatives from the respective cities that are included under the project, experts who conducted the study on climatic change, delegates from Europe and Philippines and civic administrators will take part in the workshop.
“Kochi is in the front line of India’s seaside cities that can potentially be affected by climate change, mostly in the form of inundation due to sea level rise. A large area of the city will go under the Arabian Sea if global temperature will rise by 4-5 degree celsius, this represents of course a worst-case-scenario where global greenhouse gas emissions go unchecked and no mitigation and adaptation steps are taken.
Despite this, even the best-case-scenario, projecting a two degree celcius rise in global temperature would whip up the average sea level by a meter causing extensive coastal inundation and miseries to coastal communities, according to the study.
The report further states that many cities in South and Southeast Asia are highly vulnerable to climate change. “In India, the expected increase in extreme rainfall events and changes to 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 is still in its infancy, particularly at the local level, it added.
Meanwhile, a top Corporation official said the geographical conditions of the city will be given due consideration while formulating strategies to tackle the issues related with climate change. The population of the city, density of vehicles, carbon emission, drainage, pollution and other factors should be considered while framing a plan to oppose the risks put forth by the impact of climatic change,” he said.