Asian cities face greatest environmental risks, report shows

India is home to 13 of the 20 riskiest cities in the world, a result of its extreme levels of air and water pollution. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Asian cities face the greatest risk from environmental issues including air pollution and natural disasters, according to a report by research firm Verisk Maplecroft.

Of the 100 most vulnerable cities, 99 are in Asia, according to the report released on Thursday. Of those, 37 are in China and 43 are in India, the world's first and third biggest emitters of greenhouse gases respectively.

Globally, 1.5 billion people live in 414 cities that are at high risk from pollution, water shortages, extreme heat, natural hazards and the physical impacts of climate change.

Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, topped the list of combined risk based on all nine factors analysed by Verisk Maplecroft.

India is home to 13 of the 20 riskiest cities in the world, a result of its extreme levels of air and water pollution. China's flood-prone Guangzhou and Dongguan topped the list of cities facing threats from natural hazards, followed by Japan's Osaka and Tokyo for being vulnerable to earthquakes and typhoons.

On a four-tier scale, Singapore is ranked high - the second highest level - for environmental pollution and climate change risks.

Lima is the only city outside Asia among the top 100 most at-risk cities overall.

A significant danger for many cities is how climate change will amplify weather-related risks, said Will Nichols, Verisk Maplecroft's Head of Environment and Climate Change.

"Higher temperatures and the increasing severity and frequency of extreme events will change the quality of living and economic growth prospects of many cities across the globe," he said.

African cities face some of the worst risks from climate change and have the least ability to mitigate those impacts. Glasgow was ranked the safest among the 576 cities examined for that factor.

"Environmental risk needs to be a central consideration when it comes to making your business, investments or real estate portfolio more resilient," said Nichols.

The hope is that identifying these risks and stressing strategies for future climate scenarios will help investors can "gain a clearer view of the costs and benefits of investment decisions."

Additional reporting by The Straits Times

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