The annual Hawai‘i Conservation Congress gets underway tomorrow in Honolulu. While many of the topics and issues will be familiar, the timing of this year’s gathering has some urgency. On Friday, the Asian Development Bank released its latest study about climate change and its impact on the Asia Pacific. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.
Across the Asia Pacific, climate change is not an academic discussion—it’s a potentially life changing event.
The Asian Development Bank says the impact of continuing current policies without any adjustments would be catastrophic.
One ADB executive working in sustainable development says when it comes to climate change, “the Asia and Pacific region is at the heart of it all.”
The bank says changes in temperatures and weather could reverse the economic progress that has allowed millions across the region to climb out of poverty.
The ADB says a “business as usual” approach will lead to an increase of 6 degrees Celsius over the Asian landmass by the end of the century.
That is more than triple the global temperature rise nations are targeting under the Paris climate accords.
Changes from the higher temperatures could include increasing heat waves, rising sea levels and changing patterns of rainfall.
The bank says more than half of the ten countries in the world most affected by extreme weather events are in the Asia Pacific.
That includes Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
There is some hope in the report.
The ADB says the Asia Pacific could also lead the world in a transition to renewable energy sources—which would also bring what it calls “unprecedented economic opportunities.”