Battling extreme weather in Asia

Urban life 7 July 2017 Christian Nyerup Nielsen

Citizens in coastal regions of Asia could face some of the worst effects of global warming. A new study has been launched to identify the most effective adaptation and funding options to create the strongest resilience possible.

4 min

Typhoons, extreme seas, heatwaves and flooding all figure in the harsh outlook for the Asia Pacific region, the Earth’s most vulnerable to global warming.

In 2015, the Asian Development Bank took action, funding a study of six cities, all with a current population of 750,000 or more, aimed at identifying ways of building resilience to climate change and determining the associated costs, benefits and funding. The cities include Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), Suva (Fiji), Mandalay (Myanmar) Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Tbilisi (Georgia).

The end goal is to invest efficiently in a comprehensive low-carbon adaptation plan that focuses on people and health, thus reducing carbon emissions and increasing resilience.

Building resilience into infrastructure

Despite economic growth, much of Asia continues to grapple with an infrastructure deficit and is struggling to provide power, water and transport systems to meet population needs. For this reason, the study prioritises solutions that include infrastructure and building requirements as part of the overall adaptation process.

Many of these cities are in emerging economies with massive infrastructure, pollution and efficiency needs, which is why it makes good sense to combine core future infrastructure needs and climate resilience.

Financing adaptation

Intended to prevent financial barriers to action, the study will largely focus on how to finance the much-needed adaptation.

One of the things we will be looking at is climate or green bonds. Using such mechanisms will ensure that investment goes through an independent vetting process and that the funding goes to environmentally friendly projects. The benefits of the projects support both reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and society development at large.

Ramboll and CLIMsystems, which provides advanced modelling systems for assessing climate impacts, will be working closely on the study, slated for completion in-mid 2016.