Experts urge the governments of Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines to take the appropriate measures against climate change; otherwise they could lose up to 7 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP).
In a recent report the ADB urged South-East Asian nations to adopt “green” policies to counter the effect of climate change and the financial crisis.
Sustainable development can strengthen national economies, create jobs, reduce poverty, protect vulnerable communities and lower emissions.
“Regrettably the worst is yet to come,” said Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, vice president for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development of ADB.
A report by the ADB noted that without the right policies, the four countries are likely to suffer a mean loss of 2.2 per cent of GDP by 2100 on an annual basis, if only market impact (mainly related to agriculture and coastal zones) is considered, and 6.7 per cent if catastrophic risks are also factored in.
Agriculture, especially rice production, will decline because of climate change, threatening food security, while rising sea levels will force the relocation of millions of residents in coastal communities and islands, as more people are likely to die from thermal stress, malaria, dengue and other diseases.
The Catholic Church in the Philippines is doing its part to protect the environment. Every year, the Council on Ecology of the Archdiocese of Manila celebrates Earth Day as one of the opportunities to educate the faithful in environmental protection and preservation.
”Our lifestyle and way of life need to be changed so that this ailing earth which is our home will be saved," Card Gaudencio B. Rosales, archbishop of Manila, said in a letter sent to all the parishes of the Manila archdiocese.
Cardinal Rosales urged people to cut in their spending in the wake of the global economic downturn and care for mother earth.