“Southeast Asia is possibly one of the most vulnerable areas in the global-climate change scenarios now being put forward by scientists. Many of the region’s estimated 500 million people live in either low-lying river deltas or far-flung islands that will be inundated if waters rise significantly” (Symon, 2007).
Due to China’s affect on Global Warming, Southeast Asia will experience effects in their agriculture. For instance, the changes in rainfall will affect irrigation systems on farms, and subsequently affecting the supply and quality of water. The region itself already is facing water stresses. Future climate change effects on regional rainfall is expected to have both direct and indirect effects on agriculture. For instance, a projected temperature increase of 2 °C could threaten agricultural productivity, leading to reduced yields. Furthermore, Global Warming can lead to long-term droughts would could essentially kill crops as they would not have water to survive.
Studies have also shown that projected impacts of common harvests of rice and wheat yields suggest that any increase in production associated with CO2 fertilization will be more than offset by reductions in yield resulting from temperature and/or moisture changes. Such agricultural impacts particularly affect low-income rural populations that depend on traditional agricultural systems or on marginal lands like Thailand or Vietnam for instance (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2009).
Illustrating the problem further, the below picture shows a comparison of healthy crops and dried-out dead crops. The astounding difference indeed speaks volume of the severity of the impact itself.
2. Coastal Systems
Due to China’s affect on Global Warming, Southeast Asia will experience effects in their Coastal Systems. The coastlines of Southeast Asia are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to the geology and geography of some of the region’s coastal areas, the growing density population and infrastructure in the coastal zone. Tropical cyclones, and tsunamis suggest the potential for coastal hazards. Citing examples would be Phuket’s Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami and Indonesia’s 2006 Earthquake and Tsunami. In particular, sea-level rise is most evident climate-related impact in coastal areas. Countries at risk include, “Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, low-lying areas of Indonesia, the Phillipines, and Malaysia. International studies have also projected the displacement of several million from the region’s coastal zone in the event of a 1m rise in sea-level, suggesting the gravity of the impact (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2009).
The picture below highlights the severity of such a displacement. Families in Southeast-Asia, Thailand for example are displaced when torrential rain causes sudden flashfloods which drive residents out of their homes. This picture speaks a thousand words of how individuals in Southeast Asia are adversely affected by such severe cases of Global Warming.
Here is another picture to display the gravity of the matter and how individuals are displaced from their homes.
Due to China’s affect on Global Warming, Southeast Asia will experience effects in their Ecosystems. Such ecosystems represent a key asset contributing to the regional economy by providing natural resources such as timber/fishers/water and so on that supports domestic and commercial enterprises. Degradation and loss of ecosystems pose a serious threat to the economic, social, and cultural stability of the region since the poor community is often dependent upon such ecosystems. For a start, overexploitation of water resources and deforestation already threaten animal species. This potentially leads to endangered and possibly extinct species in Southeast Asia – for instance, the Asian black bear.
Scientific assessments also document that coral reef communities, mangrove wetlands, tropical forests are particularly affected. Coral reefs may be able to keep up with the rate of sea-level rise but may suffer bleaching from higher temperatures (as mentioned in the Effects on Biodiversity section ).Citing an example would be the 1997/1998 El Nino event which caused widespread bleaching of coral reefs in the region including Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2009). Coral Reefs are also an important source of tourism for countries and with their demise, it results in a loss in tourism along with a loss in biodiversity.
Due to China’s affect on Global Warming, Southeast Asia will experience effects in their Water supply. The main concern of the Southeast Asia poor rural population is to maintain the security of their water resources – as water is essential for survival. The region occasionally faces water stresses from time to time. However, the adverse impact from Climate change will worsen water shortage by extreme events such as droughts – no rainfall for extended periods of time. Such extreme events would lead to an adverse impact in the agriculture of countries which rely heavily on agriculture as their livelihood.
On the other end of the extreme continuum ; flooding, where water supply is at risk of contamination and could lead to an increase in water-borne diseases which inevitably threatens the security of the water as it would not be safe for consumption. Hence, climate change has adverse effects on the water supply of Southeast Asian countries (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2009).
Although Singapore may not be directly affected by China’s affect on SEA such as negative effects on agriculture and coastal systems due to our strategic location, we are not spared from the negative effects of Global Warming itself. As aforementioned, the agriculture of neighbouring SEA countries such as Thailand, or Vietnam would be affected and this would indirectly affect us as 90% of Singapore’s food supply is imported from neighbouring countries.
To make matters worse, Singapore can be affected if there is a haze in Southeast Asia. As there are strong seasonal winds which can blow the haze downwards to Singapore, we are also indirectly affected by any events in neighbouring countries. Singapore can also experience possible flashfloods if torrential rainfall is experienced within the country itself.
Adding on to the list of negative effects, should there be any Singaporean in any SEA country when such an catastrophe occurs, it may result in Singaporean casualties which have a negative effect on the country. Furthermore, the economy of Singapore is indirectly related to the SEA countries which could lead to an affect in the Singaporean Economy.
The picture below shows a resulting scene from a flashflood in Singapore in 2011. Readers question if it was a act of Global Warming but all remains yet to be known.
All in all, China’s contributions to Global Warming will directly or indirectly affect Southeast Asia in the various ways as aforementioned.