Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Southeast Asia faces soaring economic costs if climate change action delayed - new study

Asian Development Bank: Southeast Asia, one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to climate change, faces a poorer future unless global warming is controlled, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) study, titled The Economics of Climate Change in Southeast Asia: A Regional Review.

Using reviews of previous studies, impact assessment models and extensive consultations with national and regional climate change experts, the study examines climate change challenges facing Southeast Asian nations, both now and in the future. The study finds that the benefits to the region of taking early action against climate change far outweigh the costs.

If the world continues with business as usual, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam could experience combined damages equivalent to more than 6% of their countries' gross domestic products every year by the end of this century, dwarfing the costs of the current financial crisis.

Rice production will dramatically decline because of climate change, threatening food security. Rising sea levels will force the relocation of millions living in coastal communities and islands, and more people will die from thermal stress, malaria, dengue and other diseases.

“Climate change seriously threatens Southeast Asia's families, food supplies and financial prosperity, and regrettably the worst is yet to come,” says Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development.

…There are a series of cost-effective measures that can help countries protect themselves from the worst effects of climate change, including improving water management, enhancing irrigation systems, introducing new crop varieties, safeguarding forests and supporting the construction of protective sea walls....

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