With Mumbai being one of the high risk cities to the worst impacts of climate change, Cabinet Minister of Environment, Tourism & Protocol Aaditya Thackeray today launched the first ever Climate Action Plan dedicated to the city. The programme aims to ensure better future planning and growth keeping in tune with climate adaptation, mitigation and resilience.
As part of the C40 Cities Network, which Mumbai joined in December 2020, the city is encouraged to draft its Climate Action Plan by the end of 2021 and is doing so in compliance with C40 guidelines and ambitious standards. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) is developing the climate action plan with technical support from knowledge partner World Resources Institute India.
Thackeray also launched the Mumbai Climate Action Plan (MCAP) website to seek suggestions and inputs from experts and citizens from the city. Citizens will be able to submit their recommendations until September 20, 2021. The process of finalising action tracks under MCAP is expected to be done and ready by November 2021 closer to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).
Speaking at the event, Aaditya Thackeray said the time for action is now as any further delays would make Mumbai unsuitable to live in over the next decade. “Mainstreaming climate action while implementing Mumbai’s development plan can protect the city’s natural systems, increase resilience capacities of vulnerable groups, and enable resilient urban growth that ensures aggressive reductions to the city’s greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
According to Thackeray, the main objective of the plan is to create a comprehensive strategy to tackle challenges of climate change in the city of Mumbai by adopting inclusive and robust mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Six-pronged action plan
The plan will focus on six action tracks to introduce sector specific strategies for mitigation and adaptation that can lead to implementable climate projects that contribute to the city’s resilience. The six thematic action areas are sustainable waste management, urban greening and biodiversity, urban flooding and water resource management, building energy efficiency, air quality and sustainable mobility.
IS Chahal, Municipal Commissioner stated, “There is a need for changing the way we think about development in the current climate change scenario. Coordinated efforts for data monitoring and management, will help us make quick and informed decisions, ensuring the safety of those most vulnerable in our city – Mumbai’s approach during the pandemic has been exactly this.”
In July 2021, Maharashtra announced a new Electric Vehicles (EV) Policy 2021. By 2025, the state hopes to have 10 percent of all vehicles registered in the state to be EVs. On August 17, the city got its first public EV charging station at the Kohinoor Square Building, MCGM car park in Dadar. In addition, the policy anticipates the installation of 1,500 charging stations across the Mumbai region.
Meanwhile, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) has confirmed that it will solely be purchasing or leasing electric buses from now on. By the end of 2022, BEST expects 45 percent of its fleet to be electric. To decrease air pollution, BEST has also planned to convert all 250 diesel buses it has to compressed natural gas (CNG).
Energy sector responsible for highest GHG emissions
The total carbon emissions for Mumbai is 34.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent. This is as per the emissions data analysed between 2010 and 2020 from sectors including transport, waste, energy and others collected from MCGM, State agencies as well as private companies.
It is further estimated that every person in Mumbai is currently contributing 2.67 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (based on 2019 estimates). Similarly, India’s approximate average contribution per person is estimated to be 1.91 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
The results showed that the energy sector contributes the highest emissions, at 71% of the overall GHG emissions. The transport sector contributes to 24%, and the solid waste sector contributes to 5%. “Due to high domestic usage of electricity, and 95% of Mumbai’s electricity is coal based, the energy sector is the highest emitter,” said Lubaina Rangwala, Associate Director, WRI India Ross Center for Sustainable Cities