What will be the impact of climate change on Asia?

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Rajendra Pachauri - Chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) addressed the above question in an interview with Development-dot-Asia.  The following reality, exacerbated by continuing global warming, will have significant impact on Asia, he pointed out:

1.    Water scarcity and its impact on agriculture and implications on food security.

2.    Melting of glaciers, especially the Himalayan glaciers, which serve as water supply for many countries and communities in Asia.  Temperature rise in the Himalayas affect the lives of one in four people in the world. Nepalese rivers that rely on the Himalayan snow for their main source of water provide livelihood for 700 million people in India and Bangladesh.  Less snow means less water for those whose lives depend on it.  (The Guardian - Signs of change in the Himalayas)

3.    Rise of sea level - threat of submergence and the intrusion of saline water in to groundwater systems.  Rise of sea level presents grave threats to low-lying cities and countries.  For Bangladesh this problem is compounded by glacial melt from the Himalayas.

The two week Copenhagen U.N. climate conference (Dec 7th - 18th) is currently underway with full political fanfare.  More than 100 world leaders are planning to attend, including President Obama.  The current climate treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, to slow down global warming and prevent climate change will expire in 2012.  Most of the more affluent countries, said to be responsible for majority of the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, are bound by this treaty - except for the United States.  The U.S. declined to participate in the Kyoto Protocol, because it gave developing countries, particularly China and India (who have no obligations under the Kyoto treaty) unfair economic advantages.  China and the U.S. are two of the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gasses.

Decisions made these two weeks, forming the new Copenhagen Treaty will affect all of our livelihoods.  But without commitments from China, U.S. and efforts from the bloc of Industrialized and Developing countries - we will all loose.  The fight for Asia's future is on.

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