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ADB Assesses Economic Losses from Climate Change in the Pacific

ADB26 November 2013: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has released a report, titled ‘Economics of Climate Change in the Pacific,' which estimates the total climate change cost in the Pacific to range from 2.9% to 12.7% of annual GDP by 2100.

The ADB report models future climate across the Pacific region, quantifies the potential impacts of climate change on the agricultural, fisheries and coral reefs, health and tourism sectors, and predicts the potential economic impact of climate change under different emissions scenarios. The report presents climate scenarios for Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu, including predictions on temperature change, the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), rainfall, extreme weather events, cyclone risk and sea level rise.

Climate change will primarily have negative impacts on the Pacific's key economic sectors, according to the report. The agriculture sector is predicted to sustain the largest economic costs, with PNG and the Solomon Islands projected to lose 50% of their sweet potato yield under a medium emissions scenario. The fisheries sector is expected to experience changes in the abundance and distribution of marine fish catches, with a 7.5% decline in total catch across the Pacific under a medium emissions scenario.

The report estimates the Pacific will require $447 to $775 million to prepare for climate change. PNG is likely to lose up to 15.2% of its GDP by 2100 from economic losses from climate change, the highest percentage in the region. Other predicted losses include 10% of GDP in Timor-Leste, 6.2% in Vanuatu, 4.7% in the Solomon Islands, 4% in Fiji and 3.8% in Samoa. The report also presents estimated costs by sector, including for agriculture, biodiversity, coastal protection, drylands, forestry, water resources and wetlands.

The report cautions climate change could overturn the region's development achievements if not adequately addressed. It recommends, inter alia: climate-proofing infrastructure; mainstreaming climate change mitigation into development planning; adopting risk-based approaches to adaptation and disaster-risk management; and developing forward-looking adaptation strategies. It further recommends improving capacity and knowledge to address climate uncertainties, improving access to climate finance and strengthening cooperation. [ADB Press Release] [Publication: Economics of Climate Change in the Pacific]