Asia and the Pacific unprepared to face climate-induced catastrophes, warns New UN study

08 May 2023 09:10pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX

BANGKOK, Thailand - Most countries in Asia and the Pacific are ill-equipped to deal with extreme weather and natural disasters, which are growing in intensity and frequency due in part to climate change, according to a study by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Findings in "The Race to Net Zero: Accelerating Climate Action in Asia and the Pacific” report revealed that countries in the region lack the sizeable financial means to support adaptation and mitigation efforts and the data necessary to inform climate action.

In a statement, ESCAP said over the past 60 years, temperatures in Asia and the Pacific have increased faster than the global mean.

"Six of the top 10 countries most affected by disasters are in the region, where food systems are disrupted, economies damaged, and societies undermined.

"The report further underscores that while the region suffered the worst consequences of climate change, it is also a key perpetrator; accounting for over half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. This share is increasing as populations grow and economies continue to be powered by fossil fuels,” it said.

ESCAP said without decisive action, global warming will remain a central driver of poverty and inequality in the region - with disastrous consequences across the continent and existential ones in Pacific small island developing States.

Meanwhile, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana said the Asia and Pacific region, responsible for more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions and with economies powered largely by fossil fuels and climate change, is exacerbating poverty and imperiling sustainable development.

"Now is the time to step up the region’s climate action.

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"If the urgency is clear, the context is challenging. Measures to put the economies of Asia and the Pacific on a low-carbon pathway, and adapt and become more resilient to the impacts of climate change, must be front and centre of the region’s post-pandemic recovery,” she said.

She acknowledged that governments in the region are joining the race to net zero under challenging circumstances from the current polycrisis.

Therefore, ESCAP study sets out the transformations needed in three key sectors - energy, low-carbon mobility and logistics, and international trade and investment. - BERNAMA