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One hundred and thirty million people living in low-lying coastal areas in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are at high risk of being displaced by the end of the century due to floods, a report has said.
It warned that by 2050 Mumbai, Chennai, Surat and Kolkata will be among 13 of the top 20 cities in the Asia-Pacific region to face huge losses due to annual flooding.
The flooding would significantly impact the region that has a population of around four billion people besides affecting the world economically, the report produced by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) said.
The unabated climate change would severely affect their future growth, reversing current development gains and degrading the quality of life.
The increase in temperature would lead to drastic changes in the region's weather system, agriculture and fisheries sectors, land and marine biodiversity, domestic and regional security, trade, urban development, migration and health, the report added.
The southern states of India were set to witness a decline of rice yields by five per cent by the 2030s, 14.5 per cent by 2050s and 17.0 per cent in the 2080s. The temperature here would increase by more than one degree Celsius, it said.
"The global climate crisis is arguably the biggest challenge human civilisation faces in the 21st century, with the Asia and Pacific region at the heart of it all," said Bambang Susantono, Vice-President (Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development) at ADB.
"Home to two-thirds of the world's poor and regarded as one of the most vulnerable region to climate change, countries in the region are at the highest risk of plummeting into deeper poverty -- and disaster -- if mitigation and adaptation efforts are not quickly and strongly implemented," Susantono added.
According to Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Professor and Director at PIK, the Asian countries hold the Earth's future in their hands.
Noting that the challenge is two-fold, Schellnhuber said Asian greenhouse gas emissions have to be reduced in a way that the global community could limit planetary warming to well below two degrees Celsius, as agreed in the Paris Climate pact 2015.