Monday, April 27, 2009
Study Says Warming Poses Peril to Asia
By THOMAS FULLER, NY Times
Published: April 26, 2009
With diminished rice harvests, seawater seeping into aquifers and islands vanishing into rising oceans, Southeast Asia will be among the regions worst affected by global warming, according to a report scheduled for release on Monday by the Asian Development Bank.
The rise in sea levels may force the sprawling archipelago of Indonesia to redraw its sea boundaries, the report said.
All these changes will occur progressively over the next century, the bank estimated, giving countries time to improve their flood control systems, upgrade their irrigation networks and take measures to prevent forest fires, which the report predicts will become more common.
“Our modeling shows that sea levels will rise up to 70 centimeters,” or about 28 inches, said Juzhong Zhuang, an economist at the bank and one of the authors of the report. “That will force the relocation of many millions of people.”
Brackish water seeping into the water table in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the rice paddies of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam is already a growing problem, the report says.
Some of the 92 outermost small islands that serve as a baseline for the claims of coastal waters by Indonesia could disappear, according to the report.
The margin of error of such complex projections so far into the future remains a nagging question but the report’s conclusions are nonetheless sobering for Southeast Asian nations, which have a combined population of more than 563 million.
The report focuses on Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.