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article imageAsia facing dire future because of climate change without help

By Karen Graham     Jul 14, 2017 in Environment
Bangkok - A report released on Friday paints a dire picture of the Asia-Pacific region's future as the globe warms, affecting the economic growth, health, development, food sustainability and security of hundreds of millions of the world's population.
A report released on Friday by the Asia Development Bank (ADB), in collaboration with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) warns that the Asia-Pacific region is at the greatest risk of plunging into a disaster if climate change mitigation and adaption methods aren't quickly put into place.
The Associated Press says the report, based on scientific research, notes that the region's 4.0 billion people are already facing extreme heat, rising sea levels, growing losses from severe weather and increasing food insecurity, and it will get worse in the coming decades. The ADB states that these climate impacts could "disrupt ecosystem services and lead to severe effects on livelihoods which in turn would affect human health, migration dynamics and the potential for conflicts."
Haze is an annual problem caused by fires set in forests and on carbon-rich peatland in Indonesia to...
Haze is an annual problem caused by fires set in forests and on carbon-rich peatland in Indonesia to quickly and cheaply clear land for palm oil and pulpwood plantations
CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN, AFP/File
Besides offering an overview of the risks associated with climate change, the report also points out the need for rapidly shifting Asia's economy toward a low-carbon path, opening the door to much needed technical expertise and investment opportunities. To that end, the ADB will invest $4 billion by 2020 to promote renewable energy supplies and green growth across the region, according to Reuters.
"Countries in Asia and the Pacific are at the highest risk of plummeting into deeper poverty - and disaster - if (climate change) mitigation and adaptation efforts are not quickly and strongly implemented," said Bambang Susantono, the ADB's vice-president for sustainable development.
High risks and great opportunities
The historic Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 acknowledges that climate change is the greatest challenge the world is facing in the 21st. century. The report also contrasts the role of the Asia-Pacific region in its relationship to the Paris Agreement as a "double dichotomy that entails simultaneously high risks and significant opportunities.
By 2050  Asia will account for over half the world's GDP  with three billion newly affluent cit...
By 2050, Asia will account for over half the world's GDP, with three billion newly affluent citizens
Alex Ogle, AFP/File
In the first dichotomy, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for an increasing overall share of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), not only impacting the global community but the region itself. However, there is an opportunity for these countries to break with GHG-intensive development, modifying historic methods of industrial development.
And as we have already seen, the rapidly decreasing costs of solar and wind power generation is a clear indication that the consumption and production of these renewable energy resources would not only greatly enhance the economic growth of the region, but would also aid in development.
The second dichotomy is much broader, encompassing the already known and anticipated impacts of anthropogenic climate change. In looking at increasing economic and human development, it is assumed that populations will feel less vulnerable to the vagaries of climate change. And a growing shift away from agriculture into a more diversified workforce helps in creating resilience to extremes in weather.
Withering drought and sizzling temperatures from El Nino have caused food and water shortages and ra...
Withering drought and sizzling temperatures from El Nino have caused food and water shortages and ravaged farming across Asia, and experts warn of a double-whammy of possible flooding from its sibling, La Nina.
Mohd Rasfan, AFP
However, with more economic development, not looking at mitigating future threats from a changing climate leaves the population open to increased risks, leaving countries vulnerable to disruptions in global and local supply chains. The bottom line is this - Climate vulnerabilities in the Asia-Pacific region need to be addressed with a "portfolio of strategies involving capacity building, preparedness programs, urban and rural planning, national and social security schemes, proactive migration and numerous others," states the report.
“The magnitude of the challenge for the people of the region is immense, with the livelihoods and welfare of hundreds of millions of people at stake,” the report said.
More about Asia, Asia development bank, High risk, investment opportunities, Development