A non-profit says in its latest report that 43% cities in the world have not yet prepared plans to tackle the effects of climate change, thus exposing around 400 million people to the hazards of flash floods, surface floods, heatwaves, threats from rising sea levels, etc, and all this is being caused by increasing global warming as a consequence of reckless use of fossil fuel. Since most emission takes place in cities, they are largely threatened by emission-induced climate change.
The organisation has drawn its conclusion after analysing data from governments and companies in more than 800 cities around the world. The report has not named the cities though, general experience and the ground realities existing in Third World countries are sufficient to indicate that most of the cities, included in the study, should be in these countries. The reasons are obvious. In most of these cities, measures to combat climate change are a distant dream considering the fact that they do not have even proper roads, water supply, public transport, dependable electricity supply and other civic facilities. In these poorly-planned cities, there are potholes in place of roads and people have been left to fend for themselves in case of increasing intensity of heatwaves and floods. This is in spite of the fact that more and more people are moving from villages to urban areas. The report says governments in these countries are yet to prepare mass evacuation plans for cities if the weather derangement throws up the need for such an eventuality. By now climate change and weather derangement have become undeniable bitter realities.
Drawing attention to the fact that climate change is also causing droughts, sometimes year after year in a row, and global warming is resulting in an unstoppable rise in the sea level, the report says the need to put in place plans to protect the vulnerable population from the ravages of disturbed climate conditions has become more urgent than ever before.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2021.