Nepal, the Maldives, and Bhutan could be looking at economic losses of around 2 percent of their annual gross domestic product by 2050 due to climate change, according to Asian Development Bank report.
The recently released A.D.B. report, titled “Assessing the Costs of Climate Change and Adaptation in South Asia,” found that Nepal, the Maldives, and Bhutan could face economic losses due to climate change if mitigation and adaptation steps are not taken.
Without changes to current global behavior, Nepal could see economic losses equivalent to around 2.2 percent of their annual G.D.P. by 2050, which could rise to 9.9 percent by 2100.
However, if mitigation and adaptation steps were to be taken, the damage could be limited to 2.4 percent of their G.D.P. by the end of the century.
According to the report, Nepal’s agricultural sector will be affected by climate change the most which will result in reduce crop yields and causing food insecurity.
Melting snow, ice, and glaciers in Nepal could also cause sudden catastrophic flooding downstream, threatening both human settlements and existing hydropower systems.
“The population is extremely vulnerable, not only to the immediate threats of increasingly frequent glacial lake overflows, landslides, flash floods, and droughts, but also to longer-term climate change, which will ultimately reduce water availability and limit crop productivity,” said BinduLohani, A.D.B. vice-president for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development.
In the Maldives
The Maldives could face economic losses equivalent to over 2 percent of their annual G.D.P. by 2050, which could significantly rise to 12.6 percent by 2100 if business as usual continues.
If mitigation and adaptation steps are taken, losses could be limited to around 3.5 percent of G.D.P. by the end of the century.
Projections show that the Maldives could see a 1-meter rise in sea level due to climate change – this increase in sea level would result in submerging 66 percent of the archipelago’s total land area causing widespread damage and displacing communities.
Some of the effects of climate change stated in the report were warmer seas bleaching coral reefs and affecting tourism; higher risk of dengue; and changing rainfall patterns and dry spells puttingthe Maldives’ main source of water at risk.
“A potential ocean rise of up to 1 meter by 2100 will have devastating consequences for this island archipelago, where the highest natural point is only a little over 2 meters above sea level,” explained Mr. Lohani.
“At the same time, the Maldives stands to gain the most in South Asia if the global community takes the necessary steps to change resource use patterns and limit damage and impacts from climate change,” Mr. Lohani added.
If business as usual continues, Bhutan could see an average economic loss equivalent to 1.4 percent of their G.D.P. by 2050, growing to 6.6 percent by 2100. If mitigation and adaptation steps are taken, damage could be limited to 1.7 percent by the end of the century.
The report shows that the country’s agricultural sector will be heavily affected; this would be due to reliance on favorable monsoon conditions and increase in temperatures that could reach as high as 4.5 degress Celsius.
Another issue that Bhutan could face are its 24 glacial lakes which could melt resulting in floods and landslides, as well as affecting settlements, farms, and the Bhutan’s hydropower sector.
“The country’s slope-dominated agricultural activities and heavy reliance on glacier-fed lakes for hydropower, tourism, and water could face immense challenges in the coming decades without global efforts to slow climate change,” warned Mr. Lohani.
Nepal, Maldives, and Bhutan are just three of the countries in the South Asian region which are part of the scope of A.D.B.’s report
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