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An Asian Development Bank (ADB) report released Friday in Manila has painted a ‘doom and gloom’ picture of the impact of climate change, if the Asia Pacific region continues with the current ‘business as usual’ scenario.
Under the business as usual scenario, a six-degree Celsius temperature increase is projected over the Asian landmass by the end of the century. Some countries in the region could experience significantly hotter climates, with temperature increases projected to reach eight degrees, according to the report, “A Region at Risk; the Human Dimensions of Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific”.
These increases in temperature will lead to drastic changes in the region’s weather system, agriculture and fisheries sectors, land and marine biodiversity, domestic and regional security, trade, urban development, migration and health.
The report said such a scenario may even pose an existential threat to some countries in the region and crush any hope of achieving sustainable and inclusive development.
The study conducted by the Potsdam Research Institute for Climate Impact Research used Tuvalu as an example of a country that will have to consider migration in the current business as usual scenario.
By the end of the century, the island nation of Tuvalu will suffer from sea level rise, drought and water scarcity, frequent tropical storms, severe storm surges and related flooding, extreme heat and a decrease in crop yield.
The report is predicting that some small island countries in the Pacific, including Tuvalu will be in danger of losing their territories due to sea-level rise.
“Their limited spatial capacity often makes relocation unfeasible, leaving only the option of migrating to other countries (such as Fiji, Australia, New Zealand and the United States).
The report identified Fiji as a likely point of destination of climate-induced migration from small island nations in the Pacific.
“Fiji provides safe refuge with higher elevation and a similar geographic setting.
“The Government of Kiribati has already bought 20sqkm of land in Vanua Levu in Fiji, said the report.
In addition to sea level rise, marine ecosystems in the Western Pacific will be in serious danger by 2100.
“All coral reef systems in the Western Pacific will collapse due to mass coral bleaching if global warming increases by 4 degrees Celsius. Even with a 1.5 degrees Celsius increase, 89 percent of coral reefs are expected to suffer from serious bleaching, severely affecting reef related fisheries and tourism, said the report.
The Coral Triangle, a marine region spanning the tropical waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste – hosts around a third of the global coral stock and 76 percent of all known coral species. More than 100 million people living in the region’s coastal area directly rely on its ecosystem services such as coastal protection and food security.
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