South Asia could see economic losses of up to 9% of its GDP every year by the end of the century if the world continues to invest in fossil fuels.
That’s according to a new report form the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which predicts the collective economy of six countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka – will lose an averge of 1.8% of its annual GDP by 2050 and could rise to 8.8% by 2100.
The forecast takes into account a 4.6°C rise in global temperatures but “given the uncertainties of climate change, there is a slight chance that annual losses will rise to as high as 24% by 2100”, the report states.
The Maldives and Nepal would be the hardest hit, losing up to 12.6% and 9.9% of their economies every year, the ADB adds.
However, it suggests the impact and cost of climate change in the South Asian region would depend largely on how the global community tackles the issue.
Bindu Lohani, ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development said: “South Asia’s economy is under serious threat and the lives and livelihoods of millions of South Asians inhabiting the region’s many mountains, deltas and atolls are on a knife edge.
“Countries must respond individually and collectively to cope with rising sea levels, disrupted water, food and energy supply and increased disease.”