Mumbai to have its own climate action plan by October

The city is set to have its own dedicated climate action plan by October, ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in November, officials in the state environment minister’s office confirmed on Thursday
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Published on Jun 25, 2021 12:50 AM IST
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ByPrayag Arora-Desai, Mumbai

The city is set to have its own dedicated climate action plan by October, ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in November, officials in the state environment minister’s office confirmed on Thursday. The action plan will be drafted by the World Resources Institute (WRI) India, which has been engaged as a consultant by the environment department.

The action plan is being undertaken pursuant to Mumbai’s entry into the C40 Cities climate leadership group in December last year. C40 connects 97 of the world’s largest cities, enabling them to “collaborate effectively, share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change”. Member cities are encouraged to develop and implement action plans in line with goals of the Paris Agreement.

Mumbai’s action plan will be executed in seven broad steps, of which two have already been completed, said officials privy to the development, on the condition of anonymity. Step one is referred to as context setting, wherein officials at the city and ward level were apprised of the need for such a plan in light of Mumbai’s burgeoning climate vulnerabilities. Step two involves collating demographic data and defining the socio-economic and ecological features of the city, based on existing literature and land-use studies.

The eventual action plan will be featured on the C40 website alongside those of other member cities. “It is an external facing document, and should be easily read by other governments, private companies, people within the innovation and research space, and so on, who may not be familiar with the city,” said Lubaina Rangwala, associate director at WRI India’s Sustainable Cities Centre.

Steps three and four, Rangwala explained, are simultaneous processes that involve developing a “climate profile” for Mumbai and conducting a “sectoral analysis” across six different verticals — air pollution, water resources and urban flooding, urban greenery and biodiversity, energy efficiency in municipal buildings, transport and mobility, and waste management.

For this, data will be collected from 15 departments of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), and 25 external organisations, both private and state, including the transport department, sewage departments, disaster management department, tree authority, development planning authority, private power distributors, the meteorological department and pollution control board among others.

Officials did not comment on the nature and extent of data being gathered, but said it will be analysed using an Excel-based tool developed by the C40 group, called the City Inventory Reporting and Information System (CIRIS). “The data will be fed into the system and analysed in comparison with global benchmarks, to help us identify gaps in each sector based on its overall emission load. These gaps will need to be addressed in our climate plan,” said Rangwala.

When it comes to planning concrete action, Mumbai’s climate plan will rely on two approaches — mitigation and adaption. “Under the mitigation head, we will be making a greenhouse gas inventory for the city using the CIRIS tool, and further conduct a ‘scenario analysis’ in which we will identify potential opportunities for emissions reduction,” said Rangwala. The mitigation aspect of the plan will also involve an air pollution analysis to identify emissions trends and pollution hotspots.

Under the adaptation head, WRI India will conduct a vulnerability analysis to assess the exposure of different parts of the city to climate change, largely looking at variations in class and spatial distribution among the population.

The other component under adaptive action is to conduct a “climate and land use assessment”, which will also include a baseline count of trees in the city.

An official in BMC’s environment department involved in the project said, “Right now, we are only at the data gathering stage. Of the 40 departments, 13 departments have not yet sent any data. They have been reminded and given time till July 10 to comply.”

The final three steps in the drafting process involve holding stakeholder consultations, setting tangible emission reduction goals for the city, and finally proceeding to implement the policy which is expected to happen before year-end.

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