The human dynamics of climate change was presented at a panel discussion yesterday as part of the Global Day of Climate Action, organised by the British High Commission, the German Embassy and the French Embassy in Singapore.
The discussion centered around the new Human Dynamics of Climate Change map, developed by the UK Met Office, which illustrates the projections of climate change impacts and population change by the end of the 21st century, and the effects on human and trade dynamics. The climate projections are taken from the latest climate models and based on a ‘business as usual’ greenhouse gas emissions scenario with a ‘middle of the road’ socio-economic scenario for population change.
For Southeast Asia, the future does not look too bright. The region could face an increase in warm day temperature of 4.3 degree Celsius and a 5% increase in number of days in drought. 77% of the area within the region is projected to have an increase in flood frequency. Maize yield is also projected to decrease by 15%. All these changes will increase the risks and challenges faced by a densely populated and flood prone Southeast Asia region.
The map not only helps policymakers and businesses to visualise the human and trade dynamics in the future, but would also help them to understand the potential fragility and conflicts that would arise from these dynamics. Countries and companies have to strengthen their adaptation and resilience to these potential changes.
Despite the potential risks and challenges from climate change, Rob Harrison, Regional Head of the UK Met Office, ended the discussion on a slightly positive note by sharing that there is still time to build capacity to deal with the problems. He highlighted the need for smart planning and shared how flood management in London is a good example of adapting to climate change.
The impacts of climate change in a business as usual scenario would affect global trade, human health, food security, economic development and international security, as different regions are affected by changes in crop yield, droughts, flooding, temperatures, and water demand and run-off. It is up to governments and businesses to interpret the map and explore the information that mean the most to them. But one thing should be common to all – the urgent need for actions to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.