Ramboll: Battling Asian extreme weather

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

Typhoons, extreme seas, heat waves and flooding all figure in the harsh outlook for the Asia-Pacific region – one of the most vulnerable on Earth to global warming. Recently, the Asian Development Bank took action, funding a study of six cities, all with a current population of 750,000 or more, aimed to identify ways of building resilience to climate change and to determine the associated costs, benefits, and funding.

The six cities in the Region include Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), Suva (Fiji), Mandalay (Myanmar) Colombo (Sri Lanka), and Tbilisi (Georgia).

To commission the comprehensive study, Asian Development Bank has engaged a leading engineering and consultancy company, Ramboll, founded in Denmark.

“This is a very interesting project that will enable Asian Development Bank to make targeted and efficient investments in urban resilience and climate adaptation,” says Christian Nyerup Nielsen, Service Line Leader for Climate Adaption at Ramboll.

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 buildings needs 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”, says Stella Whittaker from Ramboll Environ, who works with sustainability and climate change and is a leading force on the study.

Financing adaptation through funding and green bonds
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”, Stella Whittaker explains.

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.