Current Climate Change Trends and Issues for East Asia

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					          Climate Change:
Issues and Measures for HD in Asia

Multi-CO Technical Capacity Development Workshop
        “Measuring Human Development”

                   Ha Noi, Viet Nam
                    1-2 June 2010
          Human Development Report Unit
  UNDP Regional Center for Asia Pacific, Colombo Office
     Key Characteristics of Asia
   Growth       • GDP growth rising; EA 5%+ in 1990 to
  continues       8% in 2008; SA recent trend similar

Poverty comes   • The proportion of people living on less
    down          than $1.25 cut by 70%, 1990-2005

GHG emissions   • Emissions doubled since 1990

Megacities with dense populations abound in Asia
(Population Map of Major Asian Cities)

   Tracking the Causes of Rising Emissions
• Reduced carbon sinks - land use change, deforestation
   – Indonesia: Land-use change and deforestation estimated to release 2.6
     Gt.CO2 annually—around six times the emissions from energy and
     agriculture combined

   – Cambodia, illegal logging of hardwood timbers for export was responsible
     for much of the 30% reduction in primary rainforest cover since 2000—one
     of the most rapid losses recorded by the FAO

• Increasing modern energy demand for growth
   – Production, consumption and exchange need increased energy use
   – China, India, Vietnam etc.

  Dilemmas: Modern Energy Use and Human Development have a
                 Strong Positive Relationship
                                                                 • Easier in the
                                                                   presence of growth

                                                                 • Without an
                                                                   adequate increase
                                                                   in quality and
                                                                   quantity of energy
                                                                   services, societies
                                                                   cannot meet the

But historic per capita CO2 emissions still low in Asia
UK, USA 1,100 tonnes, compared with just 66 tonnes for China and 23 tonnes for India.   5
               CC Dilemmas
• All environmental problems are not climate
  change; the more visible pollution gets more
  attention; CC is less understood how can we
  make it more visible
• Everyone affected and needs to adapt; but the
  relatively privileged need to mitigate
• Costs now (financial, lifestyle); benefits mainly
  in the future, especially for the better-off
• Uncomfortable tradeoffs – politically fraught
              Key areas for HD impacts

         East Asia                      South Asia

Vulnerable          Water                            Retreating
  Coastal        Shortages and    Natural
Populations         Floods                             Water

        Agriculture                     Agriculture
         and Food                        and Food
          security                        security


             Vulnerable Coastal Populations:
        Dramatic impacts on social and economic indicators

• Coastal population high and rapidly rising
130m in China; 40m in Viet Nam
concentrations in large cities like Shanghai, Ho Chi
Minh City
• Urban pop expected to double from 665 m in 2000
to 1.2 b people by 2030)
• Countries affected: Viet Nam and China the most;
also Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia

    Measuring impacts on coastal population
•Typhoon frequency: average of 6-8      •Large scale inundation affecting major
p.a.                                    economic activities – tourism

• Mangroves loss: 2,500 km2 with a      • Flooding of Mekong (15-20,000 km2)
1m sea level rise (Asia)                river delta inundate it fully

• Loss of coral reefs: ~30% estimated   - expose land to extreme salinity - 45%
over next 30 years in Asia              - crop damage - rice productivity cut by
                                        9% - food security
• Decline in fish larvae abundance
                                        • Viet Nam 1 m rise
• Land salinity increases                  - displacement of people – 22m
                                           - GDP loss 10%
• Coastal people at risk of flooding:
2.6-18.8m persons by 2100 in SEA

                                                                Key CC Impacts EA
              Water Shortages and Floods
Dry regions becoming drier; wet regions wetter
 water shortages in arid/ semi-arid regions
 increased precipitation in temperate /tropical Asia during summer monsoon cause
  more frequent and severe floods
Annual river water flow
 decline in Mekong River 16-24% by 2050
Area under glaciers (melting glaciers)
 shrinkage of area by 80% over the Tibetan plateau by the 2030s (China; also Bhutan,
Changes in flows and seasonality
 adverse impacts on sensitive and economically productive wetlands (e.g. Tônlé Sap
  in Cambodia)

                               Water-linked HD

• Agriculture, fisheries, forestry: domestic food security, rural livelihoods
• Industrial, commercial & domestic stress – negative for GDP, and quality of
daily human life
• HD impacts exacerbated by rapid urbanization:
     Migration, water competition/conflicts
     Groundwater quality & quantity – pollution, salinity, extraction
     Sanitation systems – health

Water-linked Climate Hazards for HD

    Natural Disasters: Man-made “Natural”
•   Share of global natural
    disasters in Asia: 80% of the
    natural disasters worldwide
    occur in Asia; and of these,
    80% are hydro-meteorological
    or climate-related              Gender: Disproportionate impact on women
•   Population affected by at       Mental health: Increased behavioral
    least one natural disaster:       problems among children following
    Over 50% of South Asians (>       flooding (e.g. Bangladesh)
    750 m people) affected in the
    past two decades

 Disaster Implications: Sudden and Creeping
• Fatalities: B’desh, India account for 76% of all deaths
  from cyclones in the world
   – 2 of 3 world’s deadliest cyclones occurred in Bangladesh,
     causing 300,000 deaths in the 1970 and 140,000 deaths in
     the 1991 cyclone
   – Bangladesh, India, southern Nepal and Pakistan
• Displacement: Monsoon floods/ storms in SA
  displaced over 21 million people in 2007
• Health, Education: India, B’desh outbreaks of diarrhea,
  respiratory infections; schools disrupted
• Economy: Local income cuts can be severe for people;
  overall average on GDP may be less
                                                         Key CC Impacts SA

   Retreating Himalayan Glaciers: Water Impacts
                                          • Himalayas: vital life sustaining water resource
                                              for SA (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal,

                                          • Perennial rivers could become seasonal:
                                              Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra & others

                                          •   GLOF: Floods from outbursts of glacial lakes,
                                              expanding at alarming rates (Nepal)

                                          •   Life, health, livelihood: 1.5 b people
                                              supported in the floodplains

                                          •   Water shortages (unparalleled scale): No
                                              replacement water-source available

                                          •   Agriculture and economic structure: Huge
Accelerated rate of retreat of Gangotri       changes to cope with retreating glaciers
                                                                                       Key CC Impacts SA
glacier, Uttarachal, since 1780 (image
from NASA)
                  •   Food: strategic priority of every
                      society and policy
                  •   Agriculture, including fisheries
Agriculture and       and forestry: Share of GDP, Share
                      of employment and share of land use
 Food Security        – all high in Asia, especially South
                  •   Rural economy faced relative
                      neglect in the pursuit of growth:
                      climate impacts complicating factor;
                      serious implications for food

                CC Indicators: Agriculture &
                       Food Security

• Increased incidence of weather extremes: onset of rainfall;
  duration & frequency of drought and floods

• Increase in agri-water demand: >= 6-10% for every 1 degree
  C rise in temperature

• Variations of rainfall and reduction of precipitation: big
  impact on livelihoods of poor farmers (India and Sri Lanka)

• HD indicators poor for vulnerable people around river
  basins (Iran and India)
     Agriculture and Food Security – Rivers
The Mekong River            The Yangtze River

Multi-country and          Geographic spread: covering 2
  geographic spread (6 EA     million sq-km, 1/5 of
  countries) – eco/env/soc    China’s land area
Employment - agriculture,  Population coverage: home to >
  fisheries and forestry      500 m people, nearly half of
  employ 85% of the basin     China’s population; one of
  population, producing       the most densely populated
  rice for some 300 m         river basins on earth
Water supply decrease with GDP: accounts for more than
  increased evaporation by    40% of China’s GDP; over
  10-15%                      40% of total inv in fixed
                              assets                     18
             Implications: Agriculture
                and Food Security

• Increased risk of hunger (266 million Asians may face
hunger by 2080)

• Rain, water shortages linked to nutritional status and
girls’ deaths (India)

• Decline in net productivity of grasslands and milk yield
- impacts on herders through livestock effects

Bangladesh: Production--a
  4°C temperature increase
  could reduce rice production
  by 30%; wheat by 50%
India: Farm income decreases--
                                   Climate Models:
  a 2-3.5°C temperature
                                     Scenarios for
  increase associated with a        Agriculture and
  net farm revenue reduction        Food Security
  of 9–25%
Indonesia: Falling yields--4%
  for rice; 50% for maize
Pakistan: Falling yields--losses
  of 6-9 %for wheat with a
  1°C increase in                                     20
             Other Impacts: Health
• Exacerbation of cholera due to increases in
• Mutation of dengue virus due to warmer
  temperatures, leading to an increase in fatalities in
  the rainy season
• Increased endemic morbidity and mortality due to
  diarrhoea all over Asia aggravated by floods and
• Increase in infectious diseases for livestock
             Other Impacts:
  Exacerbation of Poverty, Vulnerability

Long-term consequences are much worse for
the poor disempowered, excluded – majority

Their lives, livelihoods, education and health
are also affected across generations,
trapping them in cycles of poverty







• Developing countries will retain and
  strengthen policy focus on economic growth;
  poverty reduction is easier in the presence
  rather than absence of growth; but growth is
  closely correlated with energy use

• Hardly any country has been able to decouple
  emissions from growth; how to widen
  prosperity and reduce inequalities, but
  control emissions at the same time?

Climate Change: A man-made natural disaster that is, both,
  immediate and slowly developing

Pre-existing versus Aggravating factors: CC is an
  aggravating factor that can multiply existing development
  deficits, reverse progress

Less Visible: Unlike pollution, CC is much less explicit, making
  it harder to trigger prevention and incentivise better
• Agriculture and the rural sector have been sidelined as
  countries focus on manuf and services as engines of

• CC can help reintroduce a rural focus with beneficial
  effects on land use, poverty, food insecurity and exclusion

• Extreme events get attention more easily, even if short-
  lived (floods, storms); but slower degradation is no less
  important to tackle (drought, desertification) for HD
               CAN MEASUREMENT
                   AND POLICY?

HD lens: Physical science dominates discourse on CC; we aim
 to develop a robust people-centered discourse rooted in
                   social science S-E-E-E-P

  MDG links: Can guide search for areas of climate-linked
       threats and opportunities for people’s lives

Vulnerability = f (Exposure, Sensitivity,
 1/Adaptive capacity)

• Accuracy and reliability of measures: Large numbers to
  emphasize urgency triggers search for even larger numbers,
  risks hyperbole
       - avoid ‘large no. bias’, retain critical scrutiny for
       - but in a polarised situation (divergent interest groups)
       critical opinions could brand one a ‘climate sceptic’

• Some effects are hard to quantify: Avoid sidelining factors
  that cannot be measured; combine quantitative and
  qualitative data

• Regardless of what countries do to mitigate, global
  warming is expected to continue for some time; so
  all societies will HAVE to adapt (planned versus

• Societies will also NEED to control GHG emissions
  to mitigate if the extent of global warming has to
  be controlled – band-aid solutions will be just that
  – patchwork

   We hope better measurement leads us to
low-GHG-growth and climate resilient societies
                 Thank You 


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Description: Current Climate Change Trends and Issues for East Asia