The Asian Development Bank has warned that climate change posed “fundamental threats to Asia’s food and energy security” which, the bank said, could trigger an upsurge in migration. The report also warns of sharply rising food prices and potential shortages.
Presenter: Ron Corben
Speaker: Mark Rosegrant, report co-author from the U.S.-based International Food Policy Research Institute
The Asian Development Bank presented three reports – on food security, energy and migration on the sidelines of this week’s negotiations in Bangkok on a new climate change treaty.
The ADB’s studies, warned food prices such as those for rice, maize and wheat – the region’s main staples – could rise by as much as 100 per cent by 2050 unless climate changes were contained. South Asian economies of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are expected to be most affected.
The report also warned of declining access to affordable energy that could lead to fresh waves of migration.
I asked Mark Rosegrant, a co-author of the report, from the U.S.-based International Food Policy Research Institute whether there was sufficient time to prevent the forecast trends in agriculture taking place.
ROSEGRANT: I think we’re running out of time to really slow climate change. I mean there’s increasing evidence that temperature changes are accelerating. You’ve seen all the evidence of ice melting – Arctic and Antarctic that’s looking at a pretty scary future. It seems to me the big agreements have to get in place very soon or we’ll be facing a radically different Earth in 30 to 40 years from now unless something is done very quickly.
I. SUMMARY: This paper looks at the controversial issue of climatic change. In particular, it develops the question of if and why earths climate is changing The roles of man, naturally occurring trends, and earths cycles are considered, and an outlook for what can be expected in the near and distant future is given. The uneasiness of modern man arises from a rupture between himself and nature that ...
CORBEN: A key concern raised by Mr. Rosegrant is the potential for increasing conflicts within the region as extreme weather conditions deeply affect local communities.
ROSEGRANT: Not only are food prices going to be higher but the water is going to be scarcer, land is going to be scarcer. Multiple pressures on the land. I think the bio-fuel issue is going to come back again because any long term projections you look at says a lot of land has to go to biomass to get the kind of carbon mitigation that you want. It is going to be neighbours against each other. So there is really potential for instability there. And that goes along with the objective deterioration in the environment that you’re going to have the potential for very significant social deterioration and the loosening of the social bonds as well.
CORBEN: One of the characteristics of all these countries .. are they are essentially traditional societies and what the world is asking them to do is to make major changes in the traditional ways of doing things. How do you see that unfolding?
ROSEGRANT: I think you’re right that’s a very difficult hurdle to do. One of the things that has to be done is to try to reach into actual communities and powers, farmers, and rural communities to work together on some of these issues. But it is going to be a major change that’s going to be dealt with. Instead it’s not necessarily easy for these traditional cultures to adapt to these changes.
CORBEN: How much urgency that you see and you feel in your report that you feel is being taken up by various governments and politicians?
ROSEGRANT: I think everybody knows the problem but politically it’s been very difficult to get for example the developed countries and the developing countries on the same page so the idea of whose going to take on the greatest share of the burden in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and in terms of financing adaptation seems to be really still big sticking points and it’s not clear how well things are going in Bangkok yet but there’s still hope and i think by Copenhagen they’ll be at least the broad outlines of an agreement. But I doubt that it will be a really strong agreement by that time. I think it’s going to take a long time.
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