Friday, July 14, 2017

Climate change to hit development gains

Unabated climate change would bring devastating consequences to countries in Asia and the Pacific, which could severely affect their future growth, reverse current development gains, and degrade quality of life, according to a report produced by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
Likewise, climate change will also make food production in region more difficult and production costs higher, according to the report. In some countries of Southeast Asia, rice yields could fall by up to 50 per cent by 2100 if no adaptation efforts are made.
Food shortages could increase number of malnourished children in South Asia by seven million, as import costs will likely increase in sub-region to $15 billion per year compared to $2 billion by 2050.
Under a business-as-usual scenario, a six-degree Celsius increase in temperature is projected over the Asian land mass by the end of the century. Some countries in the region could experience significantly hotter climates, with temperature increases in Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the northwest part of China projected to reach eight degree Celsius, according to the report, ‘A Region at Risk: The Human Dimensions of Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific’, which was unveiled today.
"These increases in temperature would lead to drastic changes in the region’s weather system, agriculture and fisheries sectors, land and marine biodiversity, domestic and regional security, trade, urban development, migration, and health,” the report reads, adding that such a scenario may even pose an existential threat to some nations in the region and crush any hope of achieving sustainable and inclusive development.
More intense typhoons and tropical cyclones are expected to hit Asia and the Pacific with rising global mean temperatures. Under a business-as-usual scenario annual precipitation is expected to rise by up to 50 per cent over most land areas in region, although countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan may experience a decline in rainfall by 20 per cent to 50 per cent.
Coastal and low-lying areas in the region will be at an increased risk of flooding. Indonesia will be the most affected country in the region by coastal flooding with approximately 5.9 million people expected to be affected every year until 2100.
Increased vulnerability to flooding and other disasters will significantly impact the region – and the world – economically. Global flood losses are expected to increase to $52 billion per year by 2050 from $6 billion in 2005.
Marine ecosystems, particularly in the Western Pacific, will be in serious danger by 2100, while climate change also poses a significant risk to health in Asia and the Pacific. Already, 3.3 million people die every year due to the harmful effects of outdoor air pollution, with China, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh being the top four countries experiencing such deaths.
A business-as-usual approach to climate change could also disrupt functioning ecosystem services, prompting mass migration – mostly to urban areas – that could make cities more crowded and overwhelm available social services, the report has warned. Moreover, a warmer climate for the region could endanger energy supply.
Climate change can exacerbate energy insecurity through continued reliance on unsustainable fossil fuels, reduced capacities of thermal power plants due to a scarcity of cooling water, and intermittent performance of hydropower plants as a result of uncertain water discharges, among other factors. Energy insecurity could lead to conflicts as countries compete for limited energy supply.
To mitigate the impact of climate change, report has highlighted importance of implementing the commitments laid out in the Paris Agreement. These include public and private investments focused on the rapid decarbonisation of the Asian economy as well as the implementation of adaptation measures to protect the region’s most vulnerable populations.

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