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Climate change in Asia: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability

Publication date:
M. Lal
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This paper discusses the possible implications of climate change in Asia. The paper focuses on a number of variables that will be affected by climate change, including, water resources, the El Nino, ecosystems, coastal resources, human health, agriculture and overall vulnerability. Climate change adaptation strategies are also proposed.Main points of the paper include:general circulation models for Asia suggest an 3°C annual mean warming would by the year 2050, rising to 5°C by 2080, as a result of greenhouse gasesunder the combined influence of greenhouse gas, surface warming would be restricted to about 2.5°C in the 2050s and about 4°C in the 2080sthe water and agriculture sectors are likely to be most sensitive to climate change-induced impacts in Asiamany species of mammals and birds could be exterminated as a result of the synergistic effects of climate change and habitat fragmentationthe monsoons in tropical Asia could become more variable if El Niño events become stronger and more frequentsurface runoff will increase during spring and summer periodsthe frequency of forest fires is expected to increase in boreal Asiathe large deltas and coastal low-lying areas of Asia could be inundated by sea-level rise.Two general strategies on adaptation are proposed:the first macro strategy involves sustainable and equitable development that will increase income levels, education, technical skills, improve public food distribution, disaster preparedness and health care systemsthe second micro strategy involves developing new institutions or modifying existing institutions related to sectors that promote rather than discourage adaptation to climate change.[adapted from author]