Sea level rise poses economic threat to Asia coastal cities

Source(s)
Greenpeace International
Impact of flooding in Bangkok, Thailand in 2011 - Wutthichai/Shutterstock
Impact of flooding in Bangkok, Thailand in 2011 - Wutthichai/Shutterstock

An estimated US$724 billion in GDP will be exposed to the risk of extreme sea-level rise and coastal flooding in seven major cities in Asia by 2030, according to a new report from Greenpeace East Asia.  “Within this decade, coastal cities in Asia are at high risk from rising sea levels and intensifying storms, impacting our homes, safety and livelihoods. Not only is it long past time to halt the construction of all fossil fuel projects, but governments must implement increased flood control and early warnings. Existing climate commitments, including nationally determined contribution targets, are insufficient to avert the risk of severe coastal flooding,” said Mikyoung Kim, climate urgency project manager at Greenpeace East Asia. The report estimates that by 2030, 15 million people across the seven cities will live in areas at risk of flooding. The analysis is one of the first of its kind to use high spatial resolution data to suggest the areas of each city that are at risk from floods. Report findings:

  • More than 96% of Bangkok’s land area could be flooded should a 10-year flood occur in 2030, including high density residential and commercial areas in the city center.
  • Jakarta faces a dual threat from both sea level rise and sinking. Almost 17% of Jakarta’s total land area is below the level to which sea water could rise should a 10-year flood occur in 2030, leading to a potential GDP risk of US$68 billion.
  • Low-lying areas in eastern Tokyo, including the Koto 5 Wards (Sumida, Koto, Adachi, Katsushika and Edogawa), are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. US$68 billion in GDP is at risk from coastal flooding in Tokyo in 2030, or 7% of Tokyo’s total GDP.
  • In Taipei, Taipei Main Station, the most significant transport hub in northern Taiwan, is at risk of flooding, as is the historic Datong District. An estimated 24% of Taipei’s total GDP could potentially be affected.
  • Almost 87% of Manila’s land area is below the level to which sea water could rise, should a 10-year flood occur in 2030. Up to 1.54 million people and a total of US$39 billion could be affected.

“Governments must immediately cancel all new coal-fired power plants in the pipeline and speed up the shift to clean and renewable energy. At the same time, the climate emergency is already here, and we need to strengthen disaster management planning and our response to climate impacts. Huge swaths of our cities are at risk of being inundated by floods, and we can’t afford to wait,” said Kim.

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