Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 24 August 2014





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Climate change will affect SL's future economy - Report

Six countries - Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka - will see an average annual economic loss of 1.8% of their collective GDP by 2050, rising sharply to 8.8% by 2100, said a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) climate and economics report for South Asia.

The report, titled Assessing the Costs of Climate Change and Adaptation in South Asia, predicts that without changes to present global behaviour, Sri Lanka would see economic losses equivalent to 1.2% of annual GDP by 2050, widening to 6.5% by the end of the century. But if proper steps are taken, the damage could be limited to around 1.4% by 2100.

The cost of climate change adaptation in South Asia will depend largely on how the global community tackles the issue, the report said, noting that if the world continues on its present path, South Asia will need to spend at least $73 billion, or an average of 0.86% of its GDP, every year between now and 2100 to adapt to the negative impacts.

On the other hand, if countries act together to keep the rise in global temperatures below 2.5C, the cost of shielding itself from the worst of the impacts would be nearly halved to around $40.6 billion, or 0.48% of GDP.

The report also details adaptive measures that countries should consider in responding to climate threats, including the use of drought, flood and saline-resistant crop varieties, more integrated coastal zone management, increased efficiencies in the energy sector, improved disease and vector surveillance, more protection of groundwater resources, and greater use of recycled water.

Temperatures in Sri Lanka could rise by as much 3C by the end of the century and the vulnerability of rice crops to more droughts is expected to increase, with yields in dry lowland areas potentially falling by a third by the 2080s.

Tea plantations at low and medium elevations are also vulnerable, with a drop in monthly rainfall of 100 millimeters reducing productivity by as much as 30 to 80 kilograms of tea per hectare.

The country's vast and diverse coastal region, covering nearly a quarter of the island, is likely to see serious damage to fisheries and coastal ecosystems from more frequent storms and a potential one-metre sea level rise.


LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lank
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