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Climate change: is Southeast Asia up to the challenge?

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Southeast Asia will be the worst affected among the regions of the world by the ravages of climate change, which could cost the region twice as much as the global average by 2100. This is among the key findings of the ADB (Asian Development Bank) regional study on the economics of climate change which estimates that the total damage is equivalent to losing 6.7 per cent of GDP each year by the beginning of the next century. This sombre assessment is reason enough to look at the region particularly and to ask – Climate Change: Is Southeast Asia Up To The Challenge? This was the subject of a workshop organised by the LSE IDEAS Southeast Asia International Affairs Programme (SEAP) before the Copenhagen climate change summit in December. Sadly, the consensus at the workshop, which was held in Jakarta on 5-6 November, was that the region was not up to the challenge, despite robust argument by representatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat, who collaborated in organizing the event, that much was being done.

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