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Economic impacts of climate change on Mumbai, India

Climate change impacts will lead to economic losses for various sectors. In this paper the impacts of climate change on the financial capital of India, Mumbai, have been delineated. These include the impact of temperature rise on rains and floods, and their consequent effects on health. The other consequences such as rise in deaths from vector-borne diseases, dislocation due to floods and sea-level rise have been shown as projected economic losses for the years 2025 and 2050. The economic costs of sea-level rise in terms of loss of property along the coastline have also been projected for a 25- and 50-year timescale respectively. The costs arising due to increase in malaria, diarrhoea and leptospirosis outbreaks have been projected till 2050. The conservative estimate of total costs of all these impacts, including the impact of climate change on tourism, are found to be enormous.

Key points include:

  • frequent floods and salt-water intrusion will affect the structural stability of high-rise buildings
  • sea-level rise will result in a loss of coastal area and ingress of sea water, which will lead to monetary loss due to buildings being affected in the region close to the shore
  • human health is another major area where the impact of climate change could be very severe, resulting in the increase of three major illnesses: diarrhoea, malaria, and leptospirosis. Iincrease in the incidence of malaria, diarrhoea and leptospirosis will result in loss of income due to non-working days and deaths
  • estimated costs due to climate change in Mumbai include: dislocation due to extreme events of flooding; material damage to low-lying areas; mortality costs due to extreme events of flooding; building-foundation damages; and loss of tourism.

The authors conclude that:

  • micro-level planning for development of effective drainage system is needed
  • greater investment in health sector will be needed for treating people affected by climate change
  • anti-erosion measures will need to be put in place at beaches and seafronts
  • the protection plan for mangroves and other wetland areas needs to be implemented
  • energy conservation measures at all levels (appliances, building design, energy use pattern and alternative sources of energy, etc.) need to be instituted
  • an urban ecosystem enhancement (creation of more open spaces, greenery, parks and tree-lined roads, etc.) needs to be undertaken.