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ADB Study Estimates Cost of Climate Change in East Asia

ADB17 October 2013: Protecting East Asia's most vulnerable sectors from climate change would cost US$36.6 billion annually, less than 0.3% of the region's GDP, according to the 'Economics of Climate Change in East Asia,' a report released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The study examines the linkages between long-term adaptation and mitigation strategies in China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Mongolia, a region that is responsible for approximately one-third of global energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Severe climate-related weather will intensify, according to the report. It predicts increasing flood events and rising sea levels will result in loss of land, forced migration, and challenges in agriculture and infrastructure sectors. The four countries have recorded more than $340 billion in losses from climate-related natural disasters since 1970. Predicted ecosystem losses include coral bleaching in China, beech forest loss in Japan, pine forest loss in the Republic of Korea and desertification in Mongolia.

The report estimates adaptation costs for East Asia's vulnerable agriculture, coastal and infrastructure sectors. It recommends that China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Mongolia collectively invest $9.5 billion for climate proofing the agriculture sector, $4.2 billion for coastal protection and $22.9 billion for infrastructure adaptation. Without such investments, the report states economic damages could be $10-$33 billion per year in the agricultural sector and $55 billion per year in the coastal sector.

“The cost of inaction far outweighs the cost of climate change adaptation if countries act now,” as the report shows, said Ayumi Konishi, Director General of ADB's East Asia Department. Konishi noted climate change also presents opportunities for stronger regional cooperation.

The report also estimates sector-specific mitigation options and total abatement potential for 2020 and 2030, addresses the impacts of climate change on poverty, and discusses climate change policies, including regional carbon markets. [ADB Press Release] [Publication: Economics of Climate Change in East Asia]