ADB says climate change could cut food staple output

Published by rudy Date posted on April 28, 2009

THE Asian Development Bank warned that rice yield potential in the Philippines and other Asian countries are likely to decline by half due to the impact of climate change.

In a study entitled “The Economics of Climate Change in Southeast Asia: A Regional Review,” the Manila-based lender said the climate change will significantly undermine crop production in Southeast Asia, posing a serious threat to future food security.

Under its worst-case scenario, the ADB said rice yield potential in the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia is likely to drop by about 50 percent from 1990 to 2100.

The study also assessed the impact of climate change on corn and soybean yield potential and results showed that it would be the same as that of rice.

The ADB estimated that the annual cost of the climate change to the four countries has reached 6.7 percent of gross domestic product.

It added that Southeast Asia has already suffered from floods and storm surges brought on by climate change. Several areas, particularly in the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, are flood-prone, making these countries particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events. Recorded floods/storms have risen dramatically, particularly in the Philippines, rising from just under 20 during 1960 to 1969 to nearly 120 by 2000 to 2008.

The study further said that the heat waves, droughts, floods, and tropical cyclones have been more intense and frequent, causing extensive damage to property, assets, and human life in the Philippines.

To maintain or increase the level of production and to cope with the impact of climate change, technological improvements and adaptation are important, the lender said.

The ADB also said that to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the Philippines would have to invest up to $1.6 billion, or about 0.6 percent of its GDP in 2020.

It added that the present crisis offers an opportunity to start the transition towards a climate-resilient and low-carbon economy.

“Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand are using fiscal stimulus to support domestic demand through tax cuts, investment in infrastructure, and to increase spending on social programs. There may also be scope for building “green investment” programs into such stimulus packages that combine adaptation and mitigation measures with efforts to shore up the economy, create jobs and reduce poverty,” the ADB said.
— Darwin G. Amojelar, Manil Times

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