The effects of climate change have the potential to exacerbate poverty in Asia and over 17 per cent land of Bangladesh could be permanently lost as a result of rising sea level, according to an energy expert.
"The direct and indirect effects of climate change will displace people, threaten food security in the region, increase the scarcity of fresh water, and lead to loss of life and property," said R. K. Pachauri, Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), and Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Pachauri was speaking as part of Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Eminent Speaker's Forum, organised by ADB's Regional and Sustainable Development Department according to a report received in Dhaka.
"Studies have shown that as a result of rising sea levels and agricultural changes, we could have 150 million environmental refugees by 2050, 17 per cent of Bangladesh could be permanently lost, and Egypt could lose up to 15 per cent of its arable land," he added.
Extreme climatic events like cyclones, droughts and floods would become more frequent, and the incidence of respiratory, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases can increase.
These effects will be felt more keenly by developing countries and the poor. To mitigate these, Pachauri said that, "Asian countries will have to individually and collectively evaluate the tradeoffs between climate change action and nearer term needs of hunger and air and water pollution."
He said that the mobilisation of public and private domestic resources, as well as international development cooperation, are all needed in facing the threats of climate change, and he recommended that coping strategies be developed for three crucial sectors - land resources, water resources, and food productivity.
The global energy system, according to him, also has to be restructured to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.