Report

Up in smoke? Asia and the Pacific

20 Nov 2007
Description

The human drama of climate change will largely be played out in Asia, where over 60 per cent of the world’s population, around four billion people, live. Over half of those live near the coast, making them directly vulnerable to sea-level rise. Disruption to the region’s water cycle caused by climate change also threatens the security and productivity of the food systems upon which they depend. This report looks at positive measures that are being taken – by governments, by civil society and by people themselves – to reduce the causes of climate change and to overcome its effects.

The human drama of climate change will largely be played out in Asia, where over 60 per cent of the world’s population, around four billion people, live. Over half of those live near the coast, making them directly vulnerable to sea-level rise. Disruption to the region’s water cycle caused by climate change also threatens the security and productivity of the food systems upon which they depend. In acknowledgement, both of the key meetings in 2007 and 2008 to secure a global climate agreement will be in Asia.

The latest global scientific consensus from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that all of Asia is very likely to warm during this century. Warming will be accompanied by less predictable and more extreme patterns of rainfall, including droughts and more extreme inundations. Tropical cyclones are projected to increase in magnitude and frequency, while monsoons, around which farming systems are designed, are expected to become more temperamental in their strength and time of onset. Ironically, if certain types of industrial pollution are reduced, the temporary cooling effect that results from having blankets of smog, could lead to very rapid warming. But existing projections are already bad enough.

There is growing consensus about the current challenges facing Asia and what is needed to tackle them. Many of these are elaborated in this report. There is reason to hope. There is already enough knowledge and understanding to know what the main causes of climate change are, how to reduce future climate change, and how to begin to adapt.

This report looks at positive measures that are being taken – by governments, by civil society and by people themselves – to reduce the causes of climate change and to overcome its effects. It gives examples of emissions reduction; alternative water and energy supply systems; preservation of strategic ecosystems and protected areas; increasing capacity, awareness and skills for risk and disaster management; and the employment of effective regulatory and policy instruments. The challenge is clear and many of the solutions are known: the point is, to act.

Publication Details
Published year only: 
2007
7
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