MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Fiji’s losses from the impacts of climate change could reach 4% of its annual GDP by 2100, as higher temperatures and more extreme weather events hit agriculture and the broader economy, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) study.
Economics of Climate Change in the Pacific includes modeling of future climate over the Pacific region, assessments of the potential impacts on agriculture, fisheries, tourism, coral reefs, and human health, and predictions of the potential economic impact of climate change for specific sectors and economies under various emissions scenarios.
“In future, the country could see an increase in droughts and floods along with a pickup in wind speeds and rainfall, all of which will negatively impact the economy,” said Xianbin Yao, Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department.
Under a medium emissions scenario, Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu could see temperatures rise by 2-3°C by 2070, which could lead to significant decreases in rain-fed agriculture, reduced fish catches, widespread coral bleaching, and falling tourism numbers.
According to the report, the most significant economic losses would be felt in PNG, where climate change impacts could trigger a loss of up to 15.2% of its GDP by 2100. Timor-Leste’s GDP is predicted to drop by up to 10%, followed by Vanuatu at 6.2%, Solomon Islands at 4.7%, Fiji at 4.0% and Samoa at 3.8%.
Fiji can expect to see droughts and floods during El Niño and La Niña periods, and a potential temperature spike of 2°C by 2070 from the 1990 level, under a medium emissions scenario. Sea levels may rise by as much as 1.41 meters by 2100.
The report notes that the negative effect on agriculture contributes to most of the total economic cost of climate change in the Pacific, and estimates that the Pacific region could require $447 million on average until 2050, and up to $775 million or 2.5% of GDP per year to prepare for the worst scenario. The cost of adaptation would be significantly less under lower emissions scenarios.
The report recommends policy leaders take urgent action to mainstream climate change mitigation into development planning and develop forward-looking adaptation strategies. The report also recommends climate-proofing infrastructure to improve long-term sustainability and boosting capacity of Pacific countries to deal with climate change on their own. Pacific countries will also need dramatically improved access to global and regional climate change funds.