Seven cities in the Philippines are at risk over rising sea levels due to climate change, a study co-produced by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.
According to ADB and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research report titled “A Region at Risk: The Human Dimensions of Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific” released on Friday, an unabated climate change would bring devastating consequences to countries in Asia and the Pacific, which could severely affect their future growth, reverse current development gains, and degrade quality of life.
The report said 19 of the 25 cities most exposed to a 1-meter sea-level rise are located in the Asia and Pacifc region, seven of which are in the Philippines.
The Philippine cities cited were Manila, Taguig, Caloocan, Davao, Butuan, Malabon, and Iloilo.
Under a business-as-usual scenario, a 6-degree Celsius temperature increase is projected over the Asian landmass by the end of the century, the report said.
These increases in temperature would lead to drastic changes in the region’s weather system, agriculture and fisheries sectors, land and marine biodiversity, domestic and regional security, trade, urban development, migration and health.
Such a scenario may even pose an existential threat to some countries in the region and crush any hope of achieving sustainable and inclusive development, it said.
The report said more intense typhoons and tropical cyclones were expected to hit Asia and the Pacific with rising global mean temperatures.
Annual precipitation is expected to increase by up to 50 percent over most land areas in the region, it said.
Rising sea levels
With this, the publication said coastal and low-lying areas in the region will be at an increased risk of flooding.
“Coastal regions of Asia and the Pacifc are among those most vulnerable to climate change-related SLR [sea-level rise],” it said.
The study pointed out that increased vulnerability to flooding and other disasters will significantly impact the region—and the world—economically.
Global flood losses are expected to increase to $52 billion per year by 2050 from $6 billion in 2005, it said.
Climate change will also make food production in the region more difficult and production costs higher.
In some countries of Southeast Asia, rice yields could decline by up to 50 percent by 2100 if no adaptation efforts are made, it added.
The report said a business-as-usual approach to climate change could also disrupt functioning ecosystem services, prompting mass migration —mostly to urban areas—that could make cities more crowded and overwhelm available social services.
Moreover, a warmer climate for the region could endanger energy supply.
Climate change can exacerbate energy insecurity through continued reliance on unsustainable fossil fuels, reduced capacities of thermal power plants due to a scarcity of cooling water, and intermittent performance of hydropower plants as a result of uncertain water discharges, among other factors, it added.
Meanwhile, energy insecurity could lead to conflicts as countries compete for limited energy supply.
To mitigate the impact of climate change, the report highlighted the importance of implementing the commitments laid out in the Paris Agreement, the report said.
These include public and private investments focused on the rapid decarbonization of the Asian economy as well as the implementation of adaptation measures to protect the region’s most vulnerable populations.
The report said climate mitigation and adaptation efforts should also be mainstreamed into macro-level regional development strategies and micro-level project planning in all sectors, in addition to the ongoing renewable energy and technology innovation efforts in urban infrastructure and transport.