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Making Cities Climate-Ready

GS3/GS2

 Syllabus:  Environment/ Governance

 

Source: DTE

 Context: A recent report by the World Bank titled “Thriving: Making Cities Green, Resilient, and Inclusive in a Changing Climate” provides guidance to local and national policymakers on how to create greener, more resilient, and inclusive cities.

 

Status of Cities in terms of their greenness, resilience, and inclusiveness (as per the report):

AspectFindingsExample
GreennessCities in high- and upper-middle-income countries contribute significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions.Cities in North America are among the largest per capita emitters of greenhouse gases.
ResilienceCities in low- and lower-middle-income countries face the highest exposure to climate change-related hazards.Cities in Bangladesh and India are more vulnerable to floods, heat stress, and cyclones, resulting in severe economic consequences.
InclusivenessLack of inclusiveness contributes to the vulnerability and lack of resilience in cities of low- and lower-middle-income countries.Cities in low- and lower-middle-income countries often struggle with inadequate access to healthcare, education, and essential utilities such as water and electricity.
Air PollutionCities in low- and middle-income countries have higher levels of air pollution, particularly PM2.5, compared to cities in high-income countries.Delhi, Kanpur, Patna etc. have experienced high levels of PM2.5, especially during the winter season
Vertical Development and ProsperityCities that develop vertically consume less land, accommodate more people, and show increased prosperity.New York City, have higher population density and economic activity compared to cities with sprawled development.
Lack of Vegetation and Heat ImpactCities with less vegetation, particularly in upper-middle-income countries, experience exacerbated impacts from extreme heat events and urban heat island effects.Cities like Tokyo, with limited green spaces, face higher temperatures during heat waves due to the lack of vegetation and increased heat retention.

 

 

Five sets of instruments to improve the greenness, resilience, and inclusiveness of cities (as recommended by the report):

5 I’sDescriptionExample
InformationPolicies and measures to provide credible and timely information to individuals, businesses, and local governments about climate change risks, mitigation and adaptation measuresEstablishing a climate change information centre to provide climate risks data specific to their city.
IncentivesIt includes removing subsidies that encourage activities with negative environmental externalities, Implementing tax incentives or rebates for installing energy-efficient technologiesFAME I and II scheme, EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)
InsuranceDeveloping climate risk insurance schemes that provide coverage for businesses and households against losses from extreme weather events, encouraging investment in climate-resilient infrastructure and enabling quick recovery.
IntegrationPolicy interventions promoting compact cities and better integration between urban and rural areas; Developing efficient public transportation networks that connect urban and rural areasE.g., Smart City mission, PURA Scheme (provide urban amenities and livelihood opportunities in rural areas)
InvestmentsInvestments by national and local governments in green, resilient, and inclusive urban infrastructure. This includes nature-based solutions and measures to attract private-sector finance for sustainable development.Allocating funds for the construction of green buildings, renewable energy projects, and urban parks.

 

Conclusion:

 

Addressing the challenges of climate change and creating sustainable cities requires a multi-faceted approach. It involves prioritizing green practices, building resilience to climate impacts, and promoting inclusiveness in urban development. Taking action at the city level is crucial in mitigating climate change and ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

 

Definitions:

Greenness: Greenness refers to the environmental sustainability and ecological balance of a city.

 Resilience: Resilience refers to the ability of a city to withstand and recover from shocks, stresses, and climate change impacts.

 Inclusiveness: Inclusiveness refers to creating cities that are socially and economically equitable, where all individuals and communities have equal access to opportunities, resources, and services.

 

Insta Links:

Climate resilience plans in Indian Cities

 

Mains Links:      

Discuss global warming and mention its effects on the global climate. Explain the control measures to bring down the level of greenhouse gasses which cause global warming, in the light of the Kyoto Protocol, 1997. (UPSC 2022)