With a climate action plan, Mumbai shows the way
Last week, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) launched the first Mumbai Climate Action Plan (MCAP). The city is part of the C40 Cities climate leadership network and the drafting of the plan, in collaboration with World Resources Institute India, is part of the C40 compliance process. The plan will focus on six areas — waste management, sustainable mobility, clean energy, urban floods and water management, urban green cover and biodiversity, and air quality. There is also a proposal to set up a climate cell within BMC for better understanding of climate needs of the city, and, more importantly, to ensure coordination among departments and the state environment ministry to properly roll-out MCAP.
Mumbai is one of the most vulnerable cities to the climate crisis-induced hazards such as sea-level rise, storm surge and urban flooding. These extreme weather events are only going to increase in the future. In fact, the Arabian Sea is becoming a cyclone hotspot like the Bay of Bengal due to increase in ocean temperature. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (2019) warned that economic losses due to extreme flooding in coastal cities will soar 166 times more by 2050, and Mumbai will be one of the worst hit. Floods in the city between 2005 and 2015 are estimated to have led to a loss of ₹14,000 crore.
Even though cities such as Mumbai are affected by the climate crisis, they are also well-placed to plan their mitigation and adaptation strategies because they are centres of innovation. This advantage, along with strong political support and strong local governance, which Mumbai has shown by kickstarting the plan, can help it become a climate resilient city, and also provide a template for other Indian cities.