That is the conclusion of a new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). However, the report suggests that the aggregate cost of protecting the most vulnerable sectors – infrastructure, coastal areas and agriculture – would amount to less than 0.3 per cent of the region’s GDP every year between 2010 and 2050.
A team of researchers from universities and think tanks around the world estimated that by 2050, the frequency of severe flooding in China, Japan, South Korea and Mongolia will increase from once in 20 years to once every four years. They also suggested that by 2050, rising sea levels would see China lose 102 square kilometres of land and Japan lose a quarter of its coastal wetlands. The effects on population would be just as dramatic, with more than a million people in China being displaced, at a cost of US$153billion, according to the report.
‘This report shows that the cost of inaction far outweighs the cost of climate change adaptation if countries act now,’ said Ayumi Konishi, director general of ADB’s East Asia Department. ‘Climate change not only brings challenges to East Asia, but also opportunities for stronger regional cooperation.’
This story was published in the December 2013 edition of Geographical Magazine