Climate Change; Asia Not In Better Position

Asia will see more heat waves, droughts and floods that could all intensify the threat to social and economic sustainability in the continent, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

The IPCC in the report  states that rising temperature increases likelihood of the threat of heat waves across Asia, droughts in arid and semi-arid areas of West, Central and South Asia, delays and weakening of the monsoon circulation in South Asia, floods in monsoon regions in South, Southeast and East Asia, and glacier melting in the Hindu Kush Himalaya.


Asian countries are experiencing a hotter summer climate, resulting in increase of energy demand for cooling at a rapid rate, together with the population growth, it said.  It said that 11 of the thirteen developing countries with large energy consumption in Asia are exposed to high energy insecurity and industrial systems risk


The IPCC said that global warming, precipitation and monsoon alteration, permafrost thawing and extreme events like dust storms along with natural and human related factors lead to change in the ecosystem.

Terrestrial and freshwater species, populations, and communities alter in line with climate change. The report also stated that climate change, human activity, and lightning determined the increase of wildfire severity. The Length of plant growth season increased in some parts of East and North Asia, while opposite trend or no change was observed in other parts. Biodiversity or habitat losses of animals or plants were linked to climate change in some parts of Asia.


Coastal habitats are diverse and the impacts of climate change including rising temperature, ocean acidification and sea level rise has brought negative effects to the livelihood of people depending on it. The degree of bleaching of coral reefs was diverse among different presences of stress tolerant symbionts and higher thermal thresholds. The risk of irreversible loss of coral reefs, tidal marshes, seagrass meadows, plankton community and other marine and coastal ecosystems increases with global warming, especially at 2°C temperature rise or more. Mangroves in the region continue to face threats due to pollution, conversion for aquaculture, agriculture, in addition to climate based threats like Sea Level Rise and coastal erosion.


Both climatic and non-climatic drivers such as socio-economic changes have created water stress conditions in both water supply and demand in all sub-regions of Asia. The report notes that by mid-21st Century, the international transboundary river basins of Amu Darya, Indus, Ganges and inter-state Sabarmati river basin in India could face severe water scarcity challenges with climate change acting as a stress multiplier.

The Asia glaciers are in minor area shrinkage and mass loss during 2006-2016, resulting in the instability of water resource supply. Glaciers in Asia are the water resources of about 220 million people in the downstream areas. The glacier meltwater in southern Tibetan Plateau has increased during 1998-2007, and will further increase till 2050. The glacier is likely to disappear by nearly 50% in High Mountain Asia and about 70% in Central and Western Asia by the end of the 21st century under the medium scenario, and more under the high scenario.


The urban areas are considered high risk locations from projected climate, extreme events, unplanned urbanisation and rapid land use change. By 2050, 64% of 38 Asia’s population will be urban.



Climate change is increasing vector-borne and water-borne diseases, undernutrition, mental disorders and allergic diseases in Asia by increasing the hazards such as heatwaves, flooding and drought, air pollutants, in combination with more exposure and vulnerability.

Increased climate variability and extreme events are already driving migration and projecting longer-term climate change will increase migration flows across Asia.

Climate change is already causing economic loss and damage across Asian regions and this will increase under higher warming


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