Asia-Pacific facing the brunt of climate change

Tuesday, 04 December, 2007

Global warming is set to reverse decades of social and economic progress across Asia and the Pacific, home to more than four billion people or 60% of the world's population, according to a multi-agency report called Up in Smoke: Asia and the Pacific.

The report, compiled by more than 35 development and environmental groups including Oxfam, says there is growing consensus about the huge challenges facing Asia and the Pacific. However, it notes "reason to hope" that there is now enough knowledge about the causes of climate change, how the world must tackle it and how people must continue to adapt to it.

Immediate action is vital, according to the report.

The report shows:

The report gives detailed analysis on the implications of climate change to poor people living in Bangladesh, central Asia, China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, East Timor, the Lower Mekong and Malaysia, Nepal and Pakistan and the Pacific Islands. It also shows that positive measures are being taken by local governments and people to reduce emissions and cope with climate change now.

Up in Smoke recommends that the international community commit to meaningful and mandatory emissions cuts to ensure that global temperature increases stay below 2°C. It says rich countries must honour their commitments to renewable energy and that the potential for its use across Asia is vast; India alone has the potential to provide 60% of its electricity with renewable sources by 2050. Rich countries must stop using restrictive intellectual property rules and allow the transfer of green technologies to developing countries.

The international community must also urgently assess the full global costs facing poor countries having to adapt to climate change and give new funds. The report notes that rich-country subsidies to their domestic fossil fuel industry stood at $73 billion per year in the late 1990s. It also says that crisis responses must be better planned, organised and funded and that vulnerable communities must be helped to cope and prepare for climate-related disasters.

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