Monday, April 27, 2009

Climate Change: S.E. Asia to be Hit Hard

Tanzanian Adam Kuleit-Ole-Mwarabu-Lemareka, right, talks with Alaskan Lizzy Tigaragh Hahn, after the signing ceremony for a declaration and action plan drafted during the U.N. affiliated Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change in Anchorage on 4/24/09. About 400 indigenous people from 80 nations are attending the summit. Recommendations will be presented to the Conference of Parties at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December (AP/Al Grillo).

BANGKOK – Southeast Asia will be hit particularly hard by climate change, causing the region's agriculture-dependent economies to contract by as much as 6.7 percent annually by the end of the century, according to a study released Monday.

The Asian Development Bank study focused on Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Those countries are especially vulnerable because they have large coastal populations facing rising sea levels and rely heavily on rice and other agriculture products which could suffer from water shortages as well as floods. Vietnam was found to be the most vulnerable.

"Climate change seriously threatens Southeast Asia's families, food supplies and financial prosperity," said Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, the ADB's vice president for knowledge management and sustainable development. "If Southeast Asian nations delay action on climate change, their economies and people will ultimately suffer."
If nothing is done to combat global warming, the report said that by 2100 the four Asian countries would see temperatures rise an average of 8.6 Fahrenheit (4.8 Celsius) from the 1990 level. They would also likely suffer drops in rainfall leading to worsening droughts and more forest fires, more destructive tropical storms and flooding from rising seas that could displace millions of people and lead to the destruction of 965 square miles (2,500 square kilometers) of mangroves.

The economic cost, according to the report, would be... More>>

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