Urban poor vulnerable to climate change: Kumari SeljaOctober 3rd, 2011 - 6:06 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Oct 3 (IANS) A vast majority of urban poor are vulnerable to climate change, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja said Monday, blaming the developed countries for contributing far more to global greenhouse gas emissions than the developing world.
In her address on the World Habitat Day, Selja said urban poor and slum dwellers were most vulnerable to climate change in cities due to poor habitat, limited access to basic services and overall poor quality of life.
“Further degradation in basic service delivery and quality for them would be disastrous,” she said.
Selja said there was a huge difference between the contribution of developed and developing countries to the emissions.
“At the global level, 20 percent of the world’s population living in developed countries accounts for little less than half of global greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.
She said that 50 percent of the global population was living in cities, which occupied just two percent of the earth’s surface, but consumed 75 percent of the planet’s natural resources and generated 50 percent of the global carbon dioxide emissions.
The minister said the theme of this year’s World Habitat Day “Cities and Climate Change” provided an opportunity to address challenges of environmental degradation by laying the foundation of green and inclusive cities.
She said while cities presented enormous opportunities for economic growth and generation of wealth, they contributed disproportionately to pollution due to population concentration.
“If the cities are unmanaged, they further aggravate environmental degradation,” she said.
“We need to promote the use of water that is collected, used and purified on site. We need to promote use of local building materials for both sustainable building technologies and the active generation of local urban livelihood opportunities,” she said.
The minister said attention should be paid to the extent of urban spread so as to reduce travel and carbon emissions.
“Each city must now promote transit-oriented development and encourage public transport with emphasis on design of neighbourhoods where walking and cycling is highly attractive,” she said.
Calling for efforts at the individual level to mitigate effects of climate change by use of public transport and use of energy efficient appliances, she said Mahatma Gandhi had shown how an individual’s actions could change history.
Referring to measures adopted by the government to reduce carbon emissions, she said a National Action Plan on Climate Change had been formulated and National Mission on Sustainable Habitat focused on energy conservation, urban waste management, better planning and urban public transport.
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Tags: carbon dioxide emissions, climate change, developed countries, developing world, environmental degradation, global carbon dioxide, global greenhouse, global level, global population, greenhouse gas emissions, laying the foundation, livelihood opportunities, local building materials, minister of housing, population concentration, poverty alleviation, slum dwellers, sustainable building, urban poverty, world habitat day