• Anthony Ruan

Rising Waters: The Effects of Climate Change In Asia

Rising Waters: The Effects of Climate Change In Asia

What is climate change?

As climate change grips the world, the Asian continent is going to face the brunt of the attack.

The residents of Pumai village depend on the glaciers of Mt. Everest for their water supply, but are now facing water shortage and drier conditions as the glaciers retreat.

Rising temperatures are a new factor of the global climate, caused mainly by increased carbon emissions. Carbon emissions result from a variety of human activities, including the combustion of oil, gas, and coal. Deforestation also contributes to the impact of carbon emissions, as trees typically intake carbon and release oxygen, and a lack of trees increases the amount of carbon emissions that are not recycled. Unfortunately, widespread deforestation on the planet has resulted in lesser amounts of recycling via plants.

In Asia, many companies have free range, producing and deforesting at significant amounts. This era of free markets has enabled widespread industrialization, at the cost of production unsustainable by the environment.

Typically, heat dissipates out of the atmosphere into space, causing little harm or impact on the world. However, in recent years, the “greenhouse effect”, caused by the increased production of greenhouse gases, which are gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation, has furthered the warming of the planet by trapping these gases and retaining heat, as well as decreasing the ability of layers such as the ozone layer to remove harmful ultraviolet rays from entering the atmosphere. The “greenhouse effect” has been occurring for years, mainly due to increased creation of carbon dioxide from mankind’s increased dependency on industrial production. These effects are felt most severely by humans themselves, as climate change can, and does, impact human health.

Climate Change and Its impact on Global Health

Impacts of Climate Change

Climate change is disastrous for human health as the impacts of it ripple out into the world, heavily hurting those in lower income areas who cannot afford certain privileges such as better water filtration or the ability to move away from environmental consequences. Global research has determined the potential impact of the growing climate crisis, and attribute a great part of its impact to Asia.

According to the UN framework, “ Asia’s large population, the frequency of natural disasters in the region, and a sometimes chaotic process of urbanisation, with population relocation to coastal cities, are some of the factors that make Asia especially vulnerable to the risk of climate change”.

The impact is already evident in natural disasters, such as the deadly Haiyan typhoon which hit the Philippines in 2013. Research has indicated that the rising global temperatures contributes both to higher ocean levels, a result of melting glaciers and other polar ice caps, and more significant natural disasters. Over 6,000 people have died as a result of the Haiyan typhoon. Unfortunately, this is just the start.

Now, why should we care?

The answer is simple. The impact of the lives lost in these disasters that mankind has brought upon themselves will be felt by the world at large.

The Asian population boom is partially to blame for the rising amounts of carbon dioxide in the air. According to the Global Carbon Project, 2017 reports indicate that “China, India and Japan were ranked first, third and fifth among the world’s worst polluting countries”. These countries are dealing with radically larger populations that have high demand for what they consider necessities: from cars to manufactured shirts, these items all require carbon emissions.

These problems are being compounded by a widespread ignorance and lack of legislation to combat climate change.

Solutions to abet climate change

Significant effort is being taken on by the United Nations and local governments in Asia.

Across Asia, the Asian Development Bank has taken efforts to establish the Climate Technology Network and Finance Center, which is intended to help “accelerate the adoption and deployment of climate technologies and investments in environmentally sound technologies in 16 countries in Asia and the Pacific”. With intervention being taken in many countries, the United Nations and organizations like this help support the implementation of techniques that are designed with the Asian climate in mind. For example, the local efforts in Vietnam helped reduce the impacts of energy wastage by implementing energy saving lamps across the nation. These lamps were developed with the reduction of greenhouse gases in mind, and have helped accelerate commercialization across the region.

Asian efforts to combat climate change are significant, but the impact of human actions against the region may require quicker intervention than global governments are currently working toward. If we wish to abet these environmental consequences, immediate action must be taken to limit and control production. The lives of millions of innocents, especially in Asia, are at risk if we do not take immediate action.

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