An advisory released this August by the US National Weather Service warned this year’s El Niño could be among the strongest ever recorded, lasting well into the first few months of 2016. Facing an El Niño of this scale, urbanised regions risk exposure to pollution from lit forests and plantations, droughts and overexploitation of freshwater resources, environmental degradation and heat waves.
The fast-paced growth of climate-vulnerable cities around the world, and especially in Asia, has huge implications for the lives of large numbers of people. This realisation is beginning to lead to an increase in climate finance flows to urban areas in low and middle income countries. But how much public money is out there? Which countries are benefiting? And how can these funds have the biggest impact?
Roughly 54 per cent of the world’s population now lives in cities, with Asia and Africa urbanizing faster than other regions. Urbanization is generally seen as a route to rising prosperity and better living standards. But critical researchers like David Sattherthwaite and Diana Mitlin argue that standard ways of measuring poverty underplays its significant scale.