As the development financing institution for Asia and the Pacific, the Asian Development Bank is in the forefront of the effort to elicit concern for, and to plan for remedial measures against, the universe-changing scourge known as climate change. This is to be expected, considering that when natural disasters—typhoons, tsunamis and earthquakes —strike, ADB is one of the principal sources of rehabilitation financing.
In line with its huge responsibility to its 30-odd regional members, ADB entered into a collaboration with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research for the study of climate change in Asia and the Pacific. The result of the study has been a joint report titled “A Region at Risk: The Human Dimensions of Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific.” The findings of the study, embodied in the joint report, are scary.
“Unabated climate change,” the report warns, “will severely affect future growth, reverse current development gains and degrade the quality of life in [Asia and the Pacific].” The region is projected to be one of the regions most affected by heat extremes, it said. “More intense typhoons and tropical cyclones are expected to hit Asia and the Pacific with rising global mean temperatures.”
The ADB-PIK joint report expressed particular concern about two things: housing and migration.
With regard to housing, the report had this to say: “Losses from tropical cyclones in Asia and the Pacific by 2085 include a 17-58 percent increase in direct-housing damage in the Philippines if no adaptive measures are taken.” The Philippines, it said, was “particularly vulnerable to natural hazards, which usually results in migration.”
Elaborating on the issue of migration, the report stated: “Natural disasters are expected to cause further displacement from rural to urban areas, as has occurred in the past. It noted that in the Philippines displacement after natural disasters ….. is usually localized as people want to stay as close to their homes as possible.”
The report said that flooding was a very serious problem in the region. “Coastal and low-lying areas in the region will be at an increased risk of flooding.” With its concentration of low-lying populated areas, Southeast Asia was particularly vulnerable to flooding, it said. “Already the number of record-breaking rainfall events has significantly increased over the last few decades.”
The report intensified seven population centers in the Philippines that will be “most exposed to a one-meter sea level rise.” Two of them are Manila and Davao City. Three of the other five are in the National Capital Region (Malabon, Caloocan and Taguig). Butuan and Iloilo City make up the rest of the seven most flood-prone Philippine population centers.