Report: Asia facing dire future toll from climate change

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(AP Photo/Pavel Rahman, File). FILE - In this photo taken Friday, May 14, 2010, a village girl sits on a vessel as she waits with others in a queue for water supplied by tankers at an area affected by last year's cyclone Aila in Nildumur, Satkhira dist... (AP Photo/Pavel Rahman, File). FILE - In this photo taken Friday, May 14, 2010, a village girl sits on a vessel as she waits with others in a queue for water supplied by tankers at an area affected by last year's cyclone Aila in Nildumur, Satkhira dist...
(AP Photo/Channi Anand, FILE). FILE - In this  May 27, 2016, file photo, a small boy holds up a cardboard cover over his head to protect himself from the sun as he walks on the dried up bed of river Tawi in Jammu, India. A report by the Asia Developmen... (AP Photo/Channi Anand, FILE). FILE - In this May 27, 2016, file photo, a small boy holds up a cardboard cover over his head to protect himself from the sun as he walks on the dried up bed of river Tawi in Jammu, India. A report by the Asia Developmen...
(AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan, File). In this March 30, 2015 file photo, a Kashmiri man stretches his hand to help a local evacuate from a flood affected area in Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir. A report by the Asia Development Bank on Friday, July 14, 20... (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan, File). In this March 30, 2015 file photo, a Kashmiri man stretches his hand to help a local evacuate from a flood affected area in Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir. A report by the Asia Development Bank on Friday, July 14, 20...
(AP Photo/Channi Anand, File). FILE - In this Friday, May 13, 2016, file photo, Indian women cover themselves and their children with scarves as they brave a dust storm under heat wave conditions in Jammu, India. A report by the Asia Development Bank o... (AP Photo/Channi Anand, File). FILE - In this Friday, May 13, 2016, file photo, Indian women cover themselves and their children with scarves as they brave a dust storm under heat wave conditions in Jammu, India. A report by the Asia Development Bank o...
(AP Photo/Mohammed Seeneen, File). FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2009 file photo, Maldivian Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Ibrahim Didi signs a document calling on all countries to cut down their carbon dioxide emissions ahead of a major U.N. climate ... (AP Photo/Mohammed Seeneen, File). FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2009 file photo, Maldivian Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Ibrahim Didi signs a document calling on all countries to cut down their carbon dioxide emissions ahead of a major U.N. climate ...
By The Associated Press

A report by the Asia Development Bank says Asia will endure extreme heat, rising sea levels, growing losses from severe weather and increasing food insecurity in coming decades as climate change raises temperatures and alters weather patterns across the globe.

The survey released Friday by the Manila-based lender paints a grim outlook for many communities in Asia, home to about 4 billion people. It's based on the latest scientific research, with or without more aggressive efforts to curb carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Here are some of its main findings:

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EXTREME HEAT: Even if global warming is limited to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius (34.7-35.6 F) above pre-industrial levels, from mountain communities in Japan to the tropics of South Asia and deserts of Australia, rising temperatures are altering ecosystems, damaging crops and causing thousands more deaths each year. The report forecasts that Asian summer temperatures could rise by 6 C (42.8 F) by 2100 if warming trends are not curbed. India suffered heat waves in 2015 and 2016 with temperatures at times around 50 C (122 F). When temperatures stay above 35 C (95 F) for extended periods of time, both people and animals are at risk of heat stroke.

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RISING SEA LEVELS: Sea levels rose about 19 centimeters (7 ½ inches) globally over the past century and are forecast to rise by about 2.3 meters (7 ½ feet) for every degree Celsius of global warming as glaciers and ice caps melt, the report says, citing past climate observations. Losses due to coastal flooding of the world's biggest cities are expected to rise to $52 billion a year. The report says Indonesia will be the worst affected in Asia, with 5.9 million people flooded out each year by 2100. But across South Asia, 130 million people living in low-lying areas may be displaced under worst-case scenarios, it says.

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EXTREME WEATHER: Changes to the jet stream can bring on unprecedented rainfall and massive flooding. Floods in Pakistan in 2010, the worst ever, killed about 3,000 people and left millions homeless. While some areas are suffering extreme droughts, in Southeast Asia, the number of record-setting daily rainfall amounts doubled over the past three decades. Up to a quarter of Bangladesh is inundated in a normal year, and century-level flooding could put 60 percent of the country under water, the report says. Storm surges from tropical cyclones, destructive winds and landslides are other risks from weather extremes.

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FOOD INSECURITY: A 3 C (37.4 F) rise in regional temperature is likely to cause grain output to fall by up to 10 percent, the report says, causing tens of millions of people to go hungry. Weaker wheat yields in China and loss of rice paddy in Vietnam due to rising sea levels and extreme weather are among the changes expected in coming decades. At the same time, desertification is spreading in Central Asia, a region where about 7-8 percent of the population lacks secure access to food. Growing ocean acidity due to changes in the atmosphere and warming temperatures are meanwhile straining marine ecosystems, hurting fisheries that are a crucial source of food across the region.

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HEALTH RISKS: Increased flooding can taint water supplies, increasing deaths from cholera and other waterborne diseases. Meanwhile, rising temperatures will further push tropical illnesses such as dengue and malaria into areas that once saw few cases, the report says. It also noted rising risks from displacement of communities due to flooding and rising sea levels, conflict over scarce water, malnutrition and other troubles brought on by climate change.

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MIGRATION: The combination of all the trends above will put heavy demands on scarce resources at a time when larger numbers of people are migrating to escape rising sea levels, extreme weather and drought. At the same time, climate-related disasters are likely to cause economic disruptions across many regions. "The magnitude of the challenge for the people of the region is immense, with the livelihoods and welfare of hundreds of millions of people at stake," the report said.

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Online:

Asian Development Bank: http://www.adb.org

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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