Global Environment

The Second Asia Pacific Seminar on Climate Change - Section 3_B

3.REGIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF CLIMATE CHANGE: CLIMATE CHANGE SCENARIOS, ASSESSMENT OF RISE IN SEA-LEVELS, AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACTS FOR THE ASIAN AND PACIFIC REGION

B. Presentation of National Case Studies

33. The major findings of the national studies were summarized by the coordinators of the national research teams. Details of current activities relating to climate change were also given by the delegates from China, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea, and Thailand.

Bangladesh

34. The emphasis of the study has been on two areas: water resources and agriculture. The simulation exercises by CSIRO coupled with actual observations in Bangladesh indicate that there has been little to no increase in the average annual temperature in Bangladesh. However, rainfall patterns have shown a tendency to increase. Observed rates appear to generally agree with computer simulations but appear to be at variance with longer-term observations. Increased rainfall in the future is expected to lead to increased surface run-off with severe flooding occurring in the country. Rise in the sea level will be less than current expectations. However, about eight percent of the land area and five percent of the present population are under threat. Apparently, agriculture will benefit from climate change. In particular, it is expected that rice yields may experience a ten-percent increase. However, model simulations indicate that the actual yield increase will be only about four percent because of the interplay of other factors such as economic policies and prices. Forestry will suffer to a greater extent because of the impact of rising sea levels that is expected to inundate 75 percent of the Sunderbans. Major policy options must rely on the management of water resources and protection of coastal areas. Protection from flooding with coastal fortifications and adaptation strategies will continue to have high priority. Regional cooperation in water management and water sharing must be given top priority because of limited success to date. Coastal zone management may include adaptations measures such as provisions for cyclone shelters and measures for coastal afforestation. Emission inventories have shown that the national contribution in 1990 amounted to 3.62 million tons of carbon (as CO2) and 3.3-6.3 million tons of methane.

India

35. The national team has worked extensively on greenhouse gas emission monitoring, with particular regard to the power generation sector (coal, oil, and natural gas). Data currently available need to be refined further. A number of research centers have assessed impacts due to rising sea levels through studies carried out over a two-year period. These studies have relied on tide measurement data available for the last 50 - 60 years and have identified vulnerable areas and likely impacts. More detailed assessments were undermined by the lack of contour maps of the critical areas. The Indian Agricultural Research Institute has carried out modeling of crop (wheat and mustard) yields in light of the changes in critical parameters such as temperature and rainfall. Forests are currently heavily exploited, but (thanks to extensive afforestation programs) there are clear indications that their uptake of carbon dioxide balances national emission levels. Both past meteorological record and GCM predictions do not provide clear evidences of increasing probability for extreme meteorological events. Further cooperative research is needed on this issue. Mitigation options under consideration include development of alternative energy sources and energy conservation; improvement in efficiency for power generation and conservation; and greater use of natural gas. Technologies for CO2 emissions control are not available in the country; developed countries should provide detailed information on the technical and economic feasibility of current technologies. Appropriate technologies that are compatible with the national policies and needs should be transferred.

Indonesia

36. Impact assessment exercises have indicated the following as particularly vulnerable ecosystems: wetlands, mangrove forests, coral reefs, and sand and mud flats. These ecosystems are found in the eastern coasts of Riau and Jambi, the coastal areas between Remband and Surabaya in the southwestern part of Sulawesi, and the islands in the Flores Sea. Tourism and recreational resources are also extremely vulnerable, e.g., the area in and around Jakarta, the southeastern coast of Java, Bali, and the major beaches on the eastern coast of Lampung and from Cilacap to Yogyakarta. Increased vulnerability is associated with transportation networks (road and railway) in the northern part of Java, the southern part of Sumatra, coastal cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, agriculture and fish ponds in Java and Bali, coastal fishing populations along the coasts of Java and Bali, the southern part of Sulawesi, the northern and southern coast of Sumatra, and West and East Nusatenggara.Salt water intrusion is likely to affect Java and Bali. Coastal flooding and erosion could occur in Java and the northern part of Sumatra while erosion is expected to take place in all the plains of Java and in the southern part of Sulawesi. Such threats would aggravate the livelihood of the population of northern Java. Human health has been affected by increases in the number of cases of malaria and dengue fever; conversely, a decrease in the number of diarrhea cases is anticipated. Adaptation policy options in key sectors such as agriculture, water resources, and coastal protection include increased taxes, stringent regulations for ground water consumption, alternative clean water technologies, spatial planning, information dissemination, flood control infrastructures, stringent building codes, maintenance and improvements of infrastructure to control rising sea levels, incentives for adaptation decisions (e.g. community housing, alternative income, small scale industries, etc.), and further research. Adaptation options with regards to human health focus on malaria and dengue fever control. Policy options for the mitigation of climate change have been indicated for the energy sector (efficiency improvement in energy generation and fuel switching) and for industry (incentives for energy efficiency). In the transportation sector, mitigation measures consist of the development of better telecommunication systems, development of better city planning, development of efficient and inexpensive public transport, and planning for rapid transit systems. The identification of mitigation options in the agricultural sector is ongoing. Future research should focus on energy efficiency, water resource conservation, alternative supply technologies, potential funding mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, impact assessment, and monitoring extensive national resources.

Malaysia

37. Three main interconnected impact areas have been identified: rising sea levels, availability of arable land, and water resources. The direct impact of these areas will consist of an increase in rainfall but a decrease in the water supply. Water deficit during periods of drought is estimated to be 30-35 percent of the total demand. A nine percent increase in flood peaks is estimated; some 27,000 km2 of the country is flood-prone and some three million people will be affected. A 30 cm rise in sea level will affect 246 km of the coastline. A 100 cm rise in sea level will affect all 1,400 km of the coastline. Rising sea levels will lead to salinization and inundation of present agricultural land. Increased temperature and changes in rainfall will also have a net negative effect on crop production. Policy options rely on government/private sector partnerships, multilateral cooperation, economic growth, and sustainable development. These objectives may be achieved through establishing round table dialogue between government and industries, opening multilateral cooperation, raising and sound managing of funds, developing environmental monitoring, building up human capital, developing an international network for information exchange, and establishing mutual tariff structures multilaterally. Further options to be evaluated and implemented are enhanced monitoring of global changes, promotion of innovative technologies, and better management of water supply. It is necessary to have a second green revolution based on genetic improvement of crops, extension of agricultural extension services, innovation in production technology, and sound land-use management. Sea walls have to be built where and when necessary, but this should not be an option for the near future. Natural gas still represents a potential energy resource. Town planning will, in the future, incorporate potential village resettlement as the coastline recedes.

Mongolia

38. Although Mongolia produces relatively small amounts of greenhouse gases, it is being affected by climate change. The mean annual temperature increase has recently risen from 0.5 to 0.7ºC per year, which has caused regular droughts. These environmental changes have negative implications for the national economy, primarily because of negative effects on animal husbandry, farming, and industrial production. The lack of standardized methodologies and financial resources are constraining current efforts to develop emission inventories for greenhouse gases. Mongolia is interested in developing all possible coordination in the field of climate change with Asian countries and regional international organizations. The country hopes to be involved with future joint research projects on this complex issue because it will be affected to an even greater extent by drought and desertification induced by global warming.

Pakistan

39. The formation of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change and the National Workshop on Climate Change held in December 1992 are major institutional changes resulting from the project. The emissions inventory was completed according to IPCC methodology and covers carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels amount to 65 Tg (or 18 Tg CO2-C); per capita values are one-seventeenth of the world average and one-eighth of the Asian value because of a favorable energy mix that includes a low share of coal use (4%) and a high share of hydropower (18%). Methane emissions (42% of the per capita world average) are more worthy of mitigation measures. Pakistan is exceedingly vulnerable to climate change because it has the largest continuous irrigation system in the world for arid and semi-arid land; this land is very prone to water logging and salinity intrusion. Its fragile watersheds will become more vulnerable owing to increased rainfall that will cause higher erosion levels in the western Himalayas. According to the predictions provided by GCMs, the country will experience 17 - 59% more rain from summer monsoons, perhaps largely concentrated in more intense rainfall events, as a major effect of climate change. The study has concentrated on impacts of heat stress on agriculture (10 - 60% loss in wheat yield), increased variation in water resources (foregone benefits of irrigation investments), and accelerated rise in sea levels in coastal zones (prolonged floods in Karachi with torrential rains and saline intrusion into mangrove and fresh waters). Preliminary assessments of the impacts on forestry and human health have been produced. The study also attempted to estimate, somewhat crudely, the cost of these impacts in relation to the present gross national product. The team is presently evaluating mitigation options, especially those aimed at curbing carbon dioxide and methane emissions. The existing long-term energy strategy adopted in 1985 aimed to reduce energy demand growth by 20% from business-as-usual scenarios. Further programs will promote energy efficiency and renewable resources.

The Philippines

40. The most serious environmental hazards arising from climate change have been identified as rising sea levels and severe weather events such as typhoons, floods, and droughts. The potential impacts of higher sea levels by 2070 include the potential submergence of small islands, some reclaimed areas in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu, some districts in Manila and the Manila Bay shoreline area, and the Laguna de Bay lakeshore areas that include agricultural and aqua cultural land settlements. The agricultural impacts can be expected to be more serious in areas vulnerable to typhoons and floods, areas frequently visited by droughts, and those near coastal areas most vulnerable to storm surge and salt intrusion. Crop yields will be experience limited net effects from increased CO2and increased temperatures. Higher rainfall scenarios for 2010 and 2070 may affect wetland crops because of floods and typhoons. Hazards caused by higher sea levels would seriously affect more than 5 million people (based 1992 population data). If mitigation/adaptation measures are enacted, the number of people at risk will be reduced to about 3.3 million. The initial adaptation options recommended for agriculture include retreat and accommodation to rising sea levels and intensive research toward the development of cultivars resistant to climate change. The recommendation for water resource adaptation is to strengthen the present master plan on soil and water conservation to cope with the expected changes. It is also recommended that farmlands be protected from frequent seasonal flooding during the rainy season and soil and water be conserved during the dry season. Coastal Protection Adaptations, retreat, accommodation, and finally protection should be assessed further to come up with the most economical responses.

41. The forestry adaptation strategy calls for a retreat adaptation option because of rising sea levels affecting forested areas. A forest fire protection scheme is recommended during the dry season and during ENSO-related drought. The most pressing concern is the mitigation of air pollution from motor vehicles in Metro Manila and intermittent electrical power shortages during the dry season. The cost-benefit analysis of mitigation and adaptation options is yet to be established. It is recommended that the present disaster preparedness and its response mechanisms be strengthened. It is also highly recommended that regional cooperation be employed for database and manpower development and research including technology transfer.

Republic of Korea

42. According to the most recent data, mean annual temperatures have shown a significant increase over time. The current greenhouse gas monitoring system only observes carbon dioxide concentrations but will observe chlorofluorocarbons and nitrous oxide as soon as possible. The monitoring effort undertaken by national administrative and research centers also involves participation in international programs such as the Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere (TOGA) program. The Government established the Ministerial Committee on Global Environmental Problems in July 1992 under the chairmanship of the prime minister and set up a Vice-Ministerial Committee and a Planning Board as a part of its infrastructure. Since that time, all projects to be implemented by the various authorities, all likely be affected by global environmental problems, have been reviewed by this Ministerial Committee. Preliminary assessments of regional impacts of climate change involve the development of greenhouse gas emission scenarios over the long-term, the evaluation of climate change impacts on ecosystems and various industrial sectors, and the initiation of techniques and policy options for reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases on a per sector basis. The main objective of current policies is to establish a long-term national strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Sri Lanka

43. Preliminary findings show that present day vulnerability occurs in all the impact areas but is most important in agriculture, water resources, and coastlines. The implications of rising sea levels appear to be the most critical for Sri Lanka, as two key industries, fisheries and tourism, would be negatively affected. Negative implications would in turn affect the sizable service sector that relies on such industries. The impact on the national economy would be extreme and would particularly impact employment and foreign exchange earnings. Because of the high uncertainties of future climate change implications, the national study does not propose stringent measures. Nevertheless, the study emphasizes the need to develop no regret strategies to promote economic growth while reducing environmental damages.

Thailand

44. The greenhouse gas emission inventory currently being prepared shows that carbon dioxide is generated primarily through the burning of fossil fuels and through changes in land use associated with large-scale deforestation and shifting cultivation. Methane is emitted from various sources, including flooded-field rice cultivation, enteric fermentation occurring in domestic livestock, and animal wastes. In 1989, Thailand emitted 161 million tons of carbon dioxide: forestry and other human activities associated with land use changes generated 51.5 percent, and energy consumption accounted for 44.8 percent. Transportation and power generation are the major sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Because of the dramatic increase in demand for electricity, which is produced through the intensive use of lignite and coal, carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector are anticipated to surpass those of the transportation sector in the near future. Cement manufacturing is a relatively minor but nevertheless significant source of carbon dioxide emissions. Of Thailand's total emissions of methane in 1989, agriculture produced the highest amount (56 percent of the total). Emissions from rice fields accounted for about 0.52 million tons of methane, or 52.3 percent of agricultural methane production. Livestock produced 0.33 million tons (33.4 percent of the agricultural total), while wastes from domesticated animals added another 0.14 million tons (14.3 percent of the agricultural total). Biomass burning constituted about 0.77 million tons of methane emissions. In the coming years, the energy consumption sector as a whole is likely to surpass forestry as the most prominent source of greenhouse gases in Thailand because economic growth will probably be driven by continued, rapid industrial development. Furthermore, emissions from Thailand's forests may begin to fall as environmental concerns and changing economic incentives combine to mitigate deforestation. The most substantial work among feasible policy options has been in forestry policy by using the COPATH forestry emissions model -a model developed by Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories in California. It was estimated that the total carbon sink in Thailand's forests amounts to approximately 3.71 billion tons in 1989. In the current year, carbon released from the conversion of forests to other uses totaled 27.2 million tons, an amount that accounts for one to three percent of worldwide emissions from deforestation. The Thai Government has set a policy goal to increase national forest area to comprise 40 percent of total land area, a significant increase over the current 28 percent, through conservation and the development of forest areas. In order to effectively implement this policy, the forces driving deforestation, particularly land speculation, must be confronted, while increases in agricultural productivity and sustainable land use practices must be promoted.

Viet Nam

45. Long-term meteorological studies provide some evidence of climate changes. Available statistics show a positive trend in the occurrence of typhoons, which have hit the coast seven times per year during the last three decades, compared to an average of 4.7 times per year from previous records. Statistical analysis also shows a significant increase of monthly temperatures mainly during summer. Although average annual rainfall has not changed during the past few decades, the seasonal distribution of rainfall has been changing. Impact assessments have highlighted the extreme vulnerability of the deltas of the Mekong and Red Rivers and the central coast provinces where most agricultural production takes place and vital infrastructures are located. Consequently, rising sea levels and negative effects on water resources have been pointed out as major environmental hazards associated with climate change. During the last three decades, the sea level has been increasing an average of 3-6 mm per year, especially along the northern coast. Major natural disasters caused by flooding have occurred during the last decades. Current estimates of greenhouse gas emissions are 18 million tons per year between 1986 and 1990 (0.27 tons per capita). Projections for the year 2000 are double the present emission levels because of economic growth. While climate change assessment studies have been undertaken in the country during recent years, the evaluation of socio-economic implications and mitigation/adaptation policies has been initiated through the ADB-funded project. Among technical options, preference is given to sea dikes (expanding current construction projects) and mangrove forest protection. Water resource development and conservation is also a top priority to be pursued with international assistance. Further cooperation is sought on greenhouse gas emission monitoring and control; financial assistance is needed to cope with the adverse effects of climate change caused by greenhouse gas buildup.

Summary of Discussion

46. Dr. Nishioka acknowledged the progress achieved since the First Asia-Pacific Seminar on Climate Change held in Nagoya in 1991 because of the ADB project and the information and methodology made available by IPCC.

47. The Seminar recommended the inclusion of further consultation among national teams and international consultants for the completion of the ADB project. Each national team was encouraged to publish the detailed results of technical studies in peer-reviewed publications.

48. It was recommended that national teams interpret impact studies in light of the CSIRO suggested range of low, medium and high climate change scenarios. It was acknowledged that the formulation of effective response strategies depends on sound and reliable impact assessments. Vulnerability assessments should also encompass the institutional and financial capabilities and social preparedness available in each country to cope with climate change.

49. The Seminar recommended that technical and economic assessments of feasible adaptation options should be based on the insights provided by past experiences and should consider the whole range of technical solutions available, ranking them according to local conditions. The Seminar made specific mention of forestry management and coastal protection measures, such as sea walls (most suitable to highly populated coastal areas) and mangrove plantations. Cost-effectiveness analysis needs to be applied more extensively in the assessment of adaptation measures.

50. The Seminar acknowledged that national studies of emission inventories produced a variable degree of coverage across all source categories. This variation was a result of deliberate differences in emphasis among the studies and differences in resource and time constraints. Data limitation and problems relating to the methodology should be clearly pointed out by each study team to allow the development of credible inventories. National teams were encouraged to contact international consultants for advice to finalize reports. The precise identification of problems and gaps will also allow suitable research projects to be planned in the future.

51. The Seminar recognized that methodology improvement was particularly needed for inventories of biospheric sources and sinks for greenhouse gases.

52. In line with the original terms of reference for national studies, mitigation measures have only been analyzed qualitatively. The Seminar recommended that quantitative assessment and feasibility studies of available options should be carried out in the future, in light of the findings of impact and adaptation studies carried out within the framework of the project. As a result, national teams were encouraged to point out the difficulties encountered thus far.

53. It was recognized that climate change is not the only environmental stress that countries will face between 1993 and 2010 or 1993 and 2070. Countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region are likely to experience changes caused by human actions in other crucial environmental indicators such as water and soil salinity, topsoil and vegetative cover, biodiversity, and air and water quality. In developing adaptation strategies, it is important to ensure that these strategies also take into consideration other stresses that are likely to accompany climate change.

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