"The impact of a global temperature rise of 4°C (7°F) in South East Asia"
The British Embassy in Bangkok launched a new map that shows how South East Asia will be affected by a global temperature rise of 4°C (7°F) at the Ambassador’s Residence on Friday, 10 February.
This new map was produced by, the Hadley Centre, part of the UK Met Office.
In 2010, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and UK Met Office/Hadley Centre issued a map showing what the world would look like if we do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the global temperature rises to 4°C about pre-industrial levels. The new map focuses on the particular impacts on South East Asia.
The new map highlights how South East Asia could suffer under this scenario, with case studies on issues like rice-growing in Thailand, smoke haze pollution and possible land loss in Singapore, intensifying tropical storms in the Philippines,flooding in the Mekong Delta, and fishing and aquaculture in Indonesia.
Thailand is the world’s largest rice exporter, contributing about a third of the total world trade. A global temperature rise could affect rice-growing in Thailand through an increased risk of drought, if there are no adaptation measures. Rice plants are also very sensitive, and can become sterile if temperatures exceed 35°C at flowering time – a likely scenario if there is an average rise of 4°C. As rice is the staple food of the Thai population, a significant reduction in yield could threaten national food security in addition to damaging the country’s economy.
The map projects that Singapore could be more frequently affected by smoke haze pollution caused by forest fires in Indonesia. This will create a greater risk of health problems like upper respiratory tract illness, asthma and rhinitis.
For the Philippines, the country most exposed to tropical storms across the region, typhoons could be more intense. The potential sea-level rise across South East Asia could further increase the country’s vulnerability to storm surges and other coastal flooding.
“This is not just theoretical - and it is likely to have severe impacts,” said Mr. Asif Ahmad, the British Ambassador. “The monsoon season of 2011 brought devastating flooding to Thailand. We can't attribute individual extreme weather events to climate change. But the risk – and frequency - of some events has already increased. This highlights the vulnerability of the human and natural worlds to changes in climate.”
The map underlines why the UK and other countries believe we must keep global warming to 2°C. If the temperature rises beyond that, the impacts will be increasingly disruptive to our global prosperity and security. The UK is an advocate of a legally binding agreement under the United Nations, and the recent Durban conference was a significant step forward. For the first time, major emerging economies have acknowledged the principle of legally binding commitments.
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