Sunday, June 21, 2009

Warming could cut Philippine rice production by 75 percent

Paul M. Icamina in the Manila Times (Philippines): Rice production will decline by as much as 75 percent in the Philippines if it is not quick enough to adapt to and put in place safeguards against climate change.The decline starts in 2020, according to a study made by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and released this week during a high level regional meeting on the impact of climate change in Asia and the Pacific.

The fall in rice production in the Philippines is the highest in the four countries—RP, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam—covered by the study. Indonesia will have the lowest decline at 35 percent. Rice riots could happen if nothing is done beginning today. By 2100, the average decline for the four countries will be half of the 1990 rice harvests.

…By 2020, adapting to climate change will cost about $5 billion a year for the four countries. This involves mainly the construction of sea walls and the development of drought- and heat-resistant crops. After 2050, it will be a wise investment that is likely to exceed the annual cost. By 2100, it could reach 1.9 percent of GDP compared to the cost of 0.2 percent of GDP.

…“The study confirms that Southeast Asia is highly vulnerable to and is already being affected by climate change,” the ADB says, “as evidence by increasing mean temperature, changing rainfall patterns, rising sea level and increasing frequency and heightening intensity of extreme weather events.”…

Rice terraces near Sagada, Mountain province, Philippines, shot by Bernard Gagnon, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

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