Three big cities — Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore — have been rated below average compared to other mega cities in Asia-Pacific in terms of keeping pollution levels in check, said a report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Delhi is the only Indian city featured in the average category.
The Asia-Pacific Human Development Report 2012 titled One Planet to Share: Sustaining Human Progress in a Changing Climate today came out with a green ranking of 22 cities in the Asia-Pacific. The ranking categorised cities into three groups, average, below average and above average , adding the “results are not sufficiently precise to produce a detailed ranking”.
The report has rated the cities based on their per capita emission of carbon dioxide. In addition to CO2 emissions, the Asian Green Cities Index factors in a range of other green concerns. For 22 Asian cities, it covers eight categories: energy and CO2, transport, water, air quality, land use and buildings, waste, sanitation, as well as environmental governance.
According to Anuradha Rajivan, lead author of the report, “Richer cities such as Singapore and Tokyo generally perform better than poorer cities such as Kolkata or Karachi. In the case of Singapore, the stronger performance is partly a reflection of the city-state’s wealth, which it can invest in environmental protection.”
Observing the Asia-Pacific region has some of the world’s fastest-growing cities, the report said cities in the region are central to the world’s battle against climate change. “Actions in cities will be ‘make or break’ for climate change,” it said.
“Asia and the Pacific are home to some of the world’s largest urban areas. Of the world’s top 20 mega cities — those with populations with 10 million or more — half are located in Asia,” the report said.
Cities with higher concentrations of people are likely to be worst affected by climate change, as was evident during the devastating flood in Mumbai (2005), Jakarta (2007), Brisbane (2010-11) and Bangkok (2011).
The report argues that in the face of climate change, countries in Asia and the Pacific “will need to change way they manufacture goods, raise crops and livestock and generate energy”.
This will mean “moving to greener, more resilient, lower-emission options that not only sustain the environment but also offer opportunities to the poor for employment and income,” it said.
The publication is aimed at reinvigorating the climate change dialogue by bringing people’s concerns to the fore in the lead-up to the Rio+20 conference.