Monday, January 21, 2008

Asian Growth, Climate Change and Natural Disasters

PlanetArk today released two separate stories that encapsulate the globalisation and environment issue. China and India do need to consider unilateral policies and not wait for the US for a lead. One wonders if the US were the country being worst hit whether US policy might be a little more flexible.

Greenhouse Gases at New Peak in Sign of Asia Growth [PlanetArk]

TROLL STATION, Antarctica - Atmospheric levels of the main greenhouse gas have set another new peak in a sign of the industrial rise of Asian economies led by China, a senior scientist said on Saturday.


He said growing economies in Asia such as China and India were a reason for the rise in emissions, in line with a linked fall of industrial efficiency in the past two years or so -- more carbon is being emitted per dollar of economic output in a reverse of a long improving trend.


"The affluent world wants to buy cheap stuff and we buy it...from the inefficient old-fashioned technology that we have got rid of," he said. He added that there were also signs the oceans had become less efficient at soaking up carbon dioxide.

Why is this a problem for Asia specifically?

Asia Hardest-Hit by Disasters in 2007, Group Says [PlanetArk]

GENEVA - Asia was hardest-hit by natural disasters last year that worldwide killed more than 16,500 people and caused US$62.5 billion in damage, a UN-backed research group said on Friday.

There was also a marked increase in the number of floods in 2007, a trend the Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters said reflected the threat posed by global warming.

Eight of the worst 10 disasters last year struck Asia. Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh in November claimed the highest toll of 4,234 lives, according to the Belgium-based centre.


"We see more extreme events overall, not geological ones like earthquakes and volcano eruptions, but very many more windstorms and floods," she said.

Scientists warn that climate change, blamed mainly on human emissions of so-called greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, will bring extreme weather including more heatwaves, droughts, floods and rising seas in coming years.

"Current trends are consistent with the prediction of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, in that Asia and also West Africa are already suffering from more severe and frequent floods," Guha-Sapir said in a statement.


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