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Sep 2021

Sea level rise poses economic threat to Asian coastal cities

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Aug 2021

An estimated $724bn of GDP of seven major Asian cities will be exposed to the risk of extreme sea-level rise and coastal flooding by 2030 according to a new report from Greenpeace East Asia.
 
Greenpeace East Asia said by 2030 around 15m people across the seven cities will be living 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.
 
The analysis suggests that across the seven cities, a total of $724bn GDP, 15m people and 1,829 square kilometre land area could potentially be affected by extreme sea-level rise and coastal flooding.
 
The estimated GDP impact accounted ranged from 0.4% to 96% of each city’s entire GDP. The seven cities included in the study are – Bangkok, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Manila, Taipei, Tokyo and Seoul.
 
Greenpeace East Asia project manager climate urgency Mikyoung Kim said, “Within this decade, coastal cities in Asia are at high risk from rising sea levels and intensifying storms, impacting our homes, safety and livelihoods.”
 
Mr Kim said, “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.”
 
The findings of the report reveal that:
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 centre.
 
About 2% of Hong Kong’s land area is below the level to which sea water could rise should a 10-year flood occur in 2030. Areas with rich biodiversity and ecological functionality would potentially be more at risk of flooding. Northwest Hong Kong has a very low elevation and is vulnerable to sea-level rise.
 
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 $68bn.
 
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 1.54m people and a total of $39bn could be affected.
 
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.
 
Low-lying areas in eastern Tokyo, including the Koto 5 Wards (Sumida, Koto, Adachi, Katsushika and Edogawa), are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. $68bn in GDP is at risk from coastal flooding in Tokyo in 2030, or 7% of Tokyo’s total GDP.
 
Seoul is connected to the Yellow Sea by the Han River, which flows through Seoul. Approximately 3% of Seoul’s land area is below the level to which sea water could rise should a 10-year flood occur in 2030. The affected areas would mainly be residential and agricultural.
 
Mr Kim said, “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.” A 
 
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