Impacts of climate change on Southeast Asia may be larger: New report

New analysis suggests that the impacts of climate change in Southeast Asia may be larger than previously estimated, possibly reaching 11% of gross domestic product by 2100, according to Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.

Southeast Asia is likely to sustain larger economic losses from climate change than most other areas in the world. Moreover, those losses-the collective effect of impacts on agriculture, tourism, energy demand, labour productivity, catastrophic risks, health, and ecosystems may be larger than previously estimated. When these loss estimates are considered simultaneously in the modelling, gross domestic product (GDP) is found to be reduced by 11% in 2100 under the business as usual emissions scenario of this study, which is 60% higher than the earlier ADB assessment.

Climate change is a global concern of special relevance to Southeast Asia, a region that is both vulnerable to the effects of climate change and a rapidly increasing emitter of greenhouse gases. From 1990 to 2010, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in Southeast Asia have grown more rapidly than in any other region of the world.

The report’s other findings include the following: Climate stabilization has substantial GDP costs, but effects on welfare are limited; Co-benefits to climate stabilization offset many of its costs; Benefits from avoided climate damage and co- benefits strongly outweigh decarbonisation costs; Climate goals to date reflect mitigation levels that are economically suboptimal; Climate stabilization will cost much more if implementing a stringent global climate agreement is delayed;

A global market for greenhouse gas emissions could benefit Southeast Asia; Emission reductions are driven by land use, energy efficiency, and low-carbon energy sources; Avoided deforestation is critical to reduce decarbonisation costs in the short to medium term; Low-carbon energy technologies are critical to reduce decarbonisation costs in the long term; Early action on advanced energy technologies is needed to enable their mitigation potential; Further energy efficiency improvements are essential for cost-effective emission reduction; Green infrastructure investments can facilitate low-carbon transitions;

Climate stabilization can cost less than what the region has spent on energy subsidies; and International assistance can help to achieve global climate stabilization goals.

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