Terming the current global climate change scenario as “serious times”, a US environmental law expert on Wednesday cautioned that the rise in sea level in the Indian Ocean could make cities like Kolkata and Mumbai vulnerable.

“There might be particular problems due to the sea level rise in the Indian Ocean. Cities like Kolkata and Mumbai are the vulnerable cities,” said Rob Verchick, who holds the Gauthier-St. Martin Chair in Environmental Law at Loyola University, New Orleans, US. He is also the faculty director of the Centre for Environmental Law and Land Use at the university.

Mr Verchick added, “Surat and Ahmedabad are responding well to adapt to the climate change. Surat has a climate change board and they are monitoring the situation quite well.”

He was addressing students at the School of Oceanography and Environmental Studies, Jadavpur University, here

Mr Verchick, who recently served US President Barack Obama’s administration as deputy associate administrator for policy at the Environmental Protection Agency, said, “For adapting to climate change we have to adopt smarter ways. The first thing we must do is that government and other agencies should look in to assess vulnerability of a place to climate change like temperature, sea level rise etc.”

“Then we have to ask, how will those changes affect the area and then in a democratic process decide what we can do with the area,” he said.