Saturday, August 23, 2014

Global Climate Inaction Will Mean Economic Turmoil for South Asia, Warns Bank

Rice farmer in Punjab, India (Credit: Neil Palmer, CIAT) Click to enlarge.
The first comprehensive study ever issued on the economic costs that uncontrolled climate change would inflict on South Asia predicts a staggering burden that would hit the region's poorest the hardest.

"The impacts of climate change are likely to result in huge economic, social and environmental damage to South Asian countries, compromising their growth potential and poverty reduction efforts," said the study, published by the Asian Development Bank.

The cuts in regional GDP are so deep that they might ripple around the world, as six developing countries with 1.4 billion people—a third of them living in poverty—pay the price of the world's continuing reliance on fossil fuels.

Projections like this feed into the urgency for action as world leaders prepare to meet at the United Nations next month to discuss the climate crisis.  Recent warnings show that the steps nations seem willing to take will fall well short of what is needed.

Action now, the study shows, would pay immediate and lasting dividends to the countries it examined: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The study, published as a new 160-page book, says that if the world cuts fossil fuel consumption enough to keep warming within 2 degrees Celsius—the goal of UN negotiations—the costs to South Asian countries of adapting to rising seas and temperatures in the decades ahead might be cut almost in half.

Global Climate Inaction Will Mean Economic Turmoil for South Asia, Warns Bank

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