Sep 11, 2012, 12:04 PM
Act Now Or Pay Later: Protecting a billion people in climate-threatened coastal cities, shows that more than a billion people are set to be exposed to coastal flooding by 2060 through a combination of sea level rise, storm surges and extreme weather.
Published today, the report reveals that it is people living in three of the biggest carbon polluting countries that will be most at risk: the USA, China and India.
According to projections for the year 2070, supported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, India’s Kolkata and Mumbai top the list of cities whose populations are most exposed to coastal flooding, with 14 million and 11.4 million respectively. The first seven cities on the list are from Asia, followed by Miami at number eight.
Miami is also forecast to suffer the brunt of the financial losses from coastal flooding by 2070, topping a separate list with an eye-watering $3.5 trillion of exposed assets. The USA is likely to pay a hefty price for its world-leading per capita carbon emissions, as New York also comes in third with $2.1 trillion. China’s Guangzhou splits the two American cities with exposed assets of $3.4 trillion.
In total, of the top 20 most financially vulnerable cities, half are from either of these two countries: four from the US, six from China.
Report author Dr Alison Doig, Christian Aid’s Principal Climate Change Advisor, said the figures should be a wakeup call ahead of next week’s World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul (May 23-24).
“We are facing a head on collision between the growth of coastal urban areas and climate change which makes coastal flooding more likely,” she said. “This perfect storm is likely to bring about a heavy human and financial toll unless we do something about it.
“Cruelly, it will be the poor that will suffer the most. Although the financial cost to cities in rich countries will be crippling, wealthier people will at least have options to relocate and receive insurance protection.
“Evidence shows that from New Orleans to Dhaka, it is the poorest who are most vulnerable because they have the worst infrastructure and no social or financial safety nets to help them recover.”
Source: Christian Aid (London)
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