The world we live in is changing rapidly, and with it, the climate is changing as well. The effects of climate change are being seen all around us, from the melting glaciers to the rising sea levels. But it's not just the natural world that is being impacted. The built environment, the infrastructure that humans have built to support their activities, is also at risk.
A study conducted by the Cross Dependency Initiative (XDI) has found that globally, Asia dominates the list with about 114 cities out of the top 200 at risk in 2050. The impact of climate change on the built environment has been quantified by XDI, with a focus on the physical climate risk to buildings and properties caused by extreme weather and climate change, such as flooding, heatwaves, forest fires, and sea level rise. The results provide an insight into the intensity of damage that each region can expect to deal with due to its built structures.
Asia tops the list of provinces at risk, with more than half of the top 200 cities in 2050. China, the US, and India are among the top 50 at-risk states and regions in 2050, emphasizing the developmental environment in these countries and the after-effects of climate risk on physical structures. Nine states in India, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Maharashtra, are among the top 50 regions at risk of damage to the built environment globally. Assam is expected to see the maximum increase with over 330% climate risk to its built environment by 2050 compared to 1990.
What's even more alarming is that the provinces not on the list do not fall under the "low-risk" category. Instead, many states and provinces facing high risk from extreme weather and climate change hazards do not appear on the top due to their lower number of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.
This is the first time there has been a physical climate risk analysis focused exclusively on the built environment, comparing every state, province, and territory in the world. It provides a large-scale picture of the impact of climate change on human-made structures. At a time when factions continue to argue on the validity of climate change claims, the built structures act as physical proof of the impacts of the hazards that ensue.
Investors, in particular, should take note of this report as extensive built infrastructure generally demands high levels of economic activity and capital inflow. Asia has the most to lose in terms of the overall scale of damage risk and risk escalation. Several highly developed and globally significant Asian economic hubs, including Beijing, Taiwan, Jakarta, Hồ Chí Minh City, and Mumbai, are under the risk radar of climate hazards.
It's not just about the losses, though. Asian countries would have the most to gain from preventing the worsening of climate change and emphasising on climate-resilient investment. The study offers "breadth and depth and granularity on a scale we haven't seen before. Now, for the first time, the finance industry can directly compare Mumbai, New York, and Berlin using a like-for-like methodology."
The economically important states of California, Florida, and Texas in the US, the major cities of London, Milan, Munich, and Venice in Europe, and Pakistan, Brazil, and Indonesia are also at risk. Pakistan has multiple areas in the top 100, with structures left behind at risk after the devastating floods between June and August 2022.
In conclusion, it is high time that we acknowledge the gravity of the situation and take immediate action towards developing climate-resilient infrastructure. Delaying the adoption of sustainable practices will only lead to catastrophic consequences that will be impossible to reverse. ESG has emerged as a significant factor for companies, investors, and consumers as it takes into account the impact of a company on the environment, society, and governance, alongside its financial performance.
Through ESG, we can effectively address environmental issues such as climate change and safeguard our planet for future generations. It is imperative that we support companies that prioritize ESG and invest in a sustainable future as responsible investors. As consumers, we have the power to demand products and services that are sustainable and eco-friendly, thereby incentivizing companies to prioritize ESG.
As we witness the rise of ESG investing and the growing concern for the environment, we can hope for a brighter and more sustainable future for our planet. We must all take responsibility and work towards creating a world that is equitable, sustainable, and resilient for generations to come. Let us unite and act now before it's too late.
Here are some sources that is used to support the information in the blog post:
Cross Dependency Initiative (XDI) Report: https://www.xdi-systems.com/physical-climate-risk-to-the-built-environment
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): https://www.unep.org/explore-topics/climate-change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): https://www.ipcc.ch/
World Green Building Council: https://www.worldgbc.org/
Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction: https://globalabc.org/
Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN): https://cdkn.org/
ClimateWorks Foundation: https://www.climateworks.org/
World Resources Institute (WRI): https://www.wri.org/
Global Climate Risk Index: https://germanwatch.org/en/17307
C40 Cities: https://www.c40.org/
Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy: https://www.globalcovenantofmayors.org/
Please note that these sources may have been updated since the writing of the blog post, as they are subject to change over time.