|Climate change to hit SE Asia harder than most of the world's regions|
|Written by Marjorie Holt|
|Monday, April 27 2009|
AP Environmental Writer
7:57 AM EDT, April 27, 2009
BANGKOK (AP) — 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 2.2 percent of gross domestic product by 2100 if only the impact on markets is considered, 5.7 percent if health costs and biodiversity losses are factored in and 6.7 percent of gross domestic product if losses from climate-related disasters are also included.
That far exceeds the projectehttp://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/nationworld/sns-ap-as-sci-asia-climate-change,0,2171169,print.storyd cost globally of climate change, estimated at 2.6 percent of gross domestic product each year by the end of the century.
Currently, governments are working to lay the groundwork ahead of a U.N. conference in December in Copenhagen that will attempt to draft a new agreement on regulating carbon emissions. It would replace the 1998 Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012.
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