Pacific climate change – PNG economy will be hit hardest
29 November 2013
PAPUA NEW GUINEA’s economy is likely to suffer the biggest losses in the Pacific from climate change, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) study.
“It is critical that countries contributing to the problem of climate change step up to assist Pacific friends and neighbours in the fight to protect their countries against natural disasters, crop losses, and forced migration,” said Xianbin Yao, Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department.
“Our findings show that if not adequately addressed, climate change could overturn the region’s development achievements.”
Economics of Climate Change in the Pacific uses models to predict the economic impact of climate change for specific sectors and economies under various emissions scenarios. It found that losses suffered by the Pacific region could range from 2.9% to as high as 12.7% of annual GDP by 2100.
The report projects that the most significant losses would be felt in PNG, where severe failures in sweet potato crops and other agricultural products and the increased economic burdens of cooling, mortality and land depletion, could trigger a loss of up to 15% of GDP by 2100.
Under a medium emissions scenario, Fiji, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu could see temperatures rise by 2-3°C by 2070, which could lead to significant decreases in rain-fed agriculture, reduced fish catches, widespread coral bleaching, and falling tourism numbers.
The largest crop losses are predicted to be in sweet potato in PNG, with losses in excess of 50% of yield by 2050, and the Solomon Islands. Considering various scenarios, climate change would reduce tourism revenues by 27-34% for the Pacific region as a whole.
Along with a temperature spike of nearly 3°C, PNG is likely to see more frequent and heavy rains, with the sea level potentially rising by up to 1.45 meters by 2100.
The report notes that Pacific countries would require $447 million on average until 2050, and up to $775 million to prepare for the worst scenario. The cost of adaptation would be significantly less under lower emissions scenarios.
The report recommends policy leaders take urgent action to mainstream climate change mitigation into development planning and develop forward-looking adaptation strategies.
The report also recommends climate-proofing infrastructure to improve long-term sustainability and boosting capacity of Pacific countries to deal with climate change on their own. Pacific countries will also need dramatically improved access to global and regional climate change funds.
On the positive side of climate change, coffee has now beginning to produce almost throughout the year in the highlands instead of once a year in May-June period. Not only coffee but pandanuses, once seasonal crops are appearing to produce endlessly. Perhaps the ADB expert can look into potential future economic benefits of it.
Posted by: Francis S Nii | 30 November 2013 at 05:13 PM
So the Asian Development Bank is targeting PNG.
Ha! climate-proofing infrastructure is recommended. How? Not with Chinese made goods, surely!
At the moment Australians are dumping tons of Chinese toys as they are dangerous to children. We have also discovered that the trains made in China are full of asbestos which may have already entered the lungs of some train drivers and repair men who will now have to suffer mesothelioma.
Many of us check goods before we buy them to make certain that they were NOT made in China.
I would be careful with their fear-mongering.
Posted by: Mrs Barbara Short | 29 November 2013 at 06:17 AM