NEW YORK –The city of Ahmedabad in India won international acclaim this week for developing a widely copied groundbreaking strategy that protects its 5.5 million residents from dangerous heat waves, which are increasing with climate change.
Sustainable Energy for All, founded by former U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and the London-based charity Ashden honored Ahmedabad’s work and six other initiatives during Climate Week in New York City.
After a devastating 2010 heat wave took the lives of 1,344 of its residents, Ahmedabad began crafting a bold heat action plan in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar and other local and international partners.
Launched in 2013, Ahmedabad’s Heat Action Plan includes efforts to supply water, prepare hospitals and alert citizens—though an early warning system for extreme heat days that sends “red alerts” to residents’ phones—when temperatures are about to become dangerously high. The city also developed a “cool roofs” project featuring various ways to lower the temperatures on building roofs, which in turn reduced interior temperatures.
The Heat Action Plan is credited with preventing nearly 2,300 premature deaths in Ahmedabad. The city’s success has been copied and today, with the leadership from the National Disaster Management Authority and partners, similar heat action plans exist in 100 cities and 21 states in India covering a population of more than 700 million people.
“The Heat Action Plan is one of the best policy examples of how cities in developing countries can learn from best practices around the world to design local and cost-effective solutions,” said Ahmedabad Mayor Bijal Patel.
Frances Beinecke, president emerita of NRDC who worked extensively on climate, clean energy and air pollution control initiatives in India, said, “This welcome recognition shines a spotlight on Ahmedabad’s impressive global leadership in addressing extreme heat. With spiking temperatures and increasing heat waves, the city has developed a broad plan that today is protecting its residents and inspiring other cities to adopt similar strategies against deadly heat.”
Anjali Jaiswal, senior director, India, in NRDC’s International Program, said, “With the last five years as the hottest ever recorded on the planet, heat action plans and cool roofs are immediate and simple solutions to fight the climate crisis.”
More about the award here: https://www.ashden.org/news/everyday-objects-unlocking-energy-and-tackling-climate-change
More about Ahmedabad’s Heat Action Plan, and others, here: https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/ahmedabad-heat-action-plan-2018.pdf
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at NRDC.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.