Archive | April, 2014

Calling Out Climate Change – Reactions Across Asia

28 Apr

By Spogmay Ahmed, PISA Staff Assistant 

Climate change has struck, and if we do not take immediate action, its pernicious impacts will continue to exacerbate. This is what the International Panel on Climate Change warns in its recently released Fifth Assessment Report. Though climate change is a global phenomenon, the report notes that much of the world, particularly developing countries, do not have adequate resources to counteract its risks. The report therefore advances adaptation as a necessary approach in responding to a changing environment. Climate change can easily aggravate ongoing social and economic processes; developed and developing countries need to cooperate to ensure steady growth. Among the countries left most vulnerable are those in Asia, which have not hesitated to address the risks in their local media.

An article in the China Daily recognizes the impact of global warming, as well as food and water scarcity on China’s growing economy. Though yields of winter wheat may benefit from rising temperatures and increasing precipitation, yields of rice may be threatened by these same changes. Additionally, as the Chinese population continues to grow, the country may face challenges in guaranteeing healthy food and clean water for all. The article notes that the IPCC report focuses on livelihoods and poverty, which could bring attention to rural populations most vulnerable to a changing climate. In terms of adaptation, the article explains that despite the government’s efforts towards promoting adaptation projects, local planners struggle to access effective resources for further implementation. Lastly, it emphasizes local development and community-based adaptation as a sensible approach to combating climate change. This requires the participation of vulnerable peoples, thereby targeting climate change within the framework of local developmental policies.

Likewise, an opinion editorial in the Indian press titled “The quiet IPCC warning” focuses on much of the same phenomena. It recognizes that changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, and disappearance of land could generate large-scale migration across South Asia. This would result in a conflict over diminishing resources, and could aggravate existing structural inequalities and poverty conditions. The article notes that the most vulnerable states are arguably the most dysfunctional. Therefore, creating adaptation policies will not be an easy undertaking.