Adaptation to climate change in Southeast Asia

Developing a relational approach

Authored by: Albert Salamanca , Jonathan Rigg

Routledge Handbook of the Environment in Southeast Asia

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  September  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415625210
eBook ISBN: 9781315474892
Adobe ISBN: 9781315474885


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As other chapters in this volume explore, the climate change challenge for Southeast Asia is clear. The most recent assessment report (AR 5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlights that temperatures across Southeast Asia have been increasing since the 1960s at a rate of 0.14°C to 0.20°C per decade, the region’s annual total wet-day rainfall has increased by 22 millimetres per decade and rainfall from extreme rain days has also increased by 10 millimetres per decade. Climate variability and trends, however, vary widely across the region and between seasons, with extreme events increasing particularly in the northern parts of Southeast Asia (Hijioka et al., 2014). These changing conditions make adaptation to – and mitigation of – climate change a matter of growing urgency. In the 2013 Climate Risk Index produced by Germanwatch, four countries in Southeast Asia are in the top ten worldwide, with the Philippines and Cambodia ranked first and second most at risk (Table 17.1) (Kreft et al., 2014). The 2014 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Joint Statement on Climate Change echoes this sense that not only is addressing the challenge of climate change becoming globally ever more urgent, but also that, for the countries of Southeast Asia, it is of particular concern. The Joint Statement pointed to ‘the clear evidence of climate change in our region over the past four decades, which has major consequences for agriculture, energy supply and livelihoods’, noting

that climate change is already having significant impacts causing major loss and damage throughout the ASEAN region, and disproportionately affecting developing countries, with the experiences with Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines providing stark evidence of the destructive impacts and disaster-prone nature of the region that cannot be ignored. (ASEAN, 2014)

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