Asia-Pacific’s growing cities hold the keys to a greener future
Asia-Pacific’s cities are central to the world’s battle against climate change. With the dual challenges of supporting the urban poor to adapt and reduce emissions, cities hold the keys to a greener future.
Cities are change-makers. They can “encourage climate-friendly energy use, more efficient transport options, greener buildings and better waste management. Supported by access to technology, finance and knowledge, integrated solutions can help cities move towards a lower-carbon, climate resilient future,” says the UNDP-sponsored Asia-Pacific Human Development Report, One Planet to Share: Sustaining Human Progress in a Changing climate, launched last week. “The Asia-Pacific region has every reason to be proud of its cities as centres of economic, political and social leadership,” the report ads.
The future of Asia-Pacific and the world is becoming increasingly urban as people move to cities seeking a better life. “Asia and the Pacific are home to some of the world’s largest urban areas. Indeed, of the world’s top 20 megacities – those with populations of 10 million or more – harlf are located in Asia,” said the report. “The fastest growing of the region’s megacities is Dhaka: between 2005 and 2010 its population increased by more than 16 per cent. In terms of total population, however, the largest city by 2020 is likely to be Tokyo (37 million), followed by New Delhi (26 million), and then Mumbai (24 million), with Shanghai (19 million) and Karachi (17 million) not far behind.”
The report says, “Around 40 per cent of Asia-pacific’s population resides in urban settlements. Asia cities also tend to be densely populated, with 6,500 people per square kilometer, compared to 4,500 in Latin America and 4,000 in Europe.” Cities with higher concentrations of people are likely to be worst affected by climate change as was evident during the devastating floods in Mumbai (2005), Jakarta (2007), Brisbane (2010-11) and Bangkok (2011).
“By 2026, Asia’s population is likely to reach a tipping point: by then, over half its population will be urban and by 2050 the proportion could reach two-thirds,” says the report. Actions in cities will be “make or break” for climate change. nepalnews.com