The effects of the changing climate are already being felt, and by 2050, between 600 million and one billion people could be impacted by lethal heat waves. According to recent McKinsey analysis, up to $4.7 trillion of GDP in Asia is at risk annually from loss of effective outdoor working hours resulting from increased heat and humidity.
Oliver Tonby: Welcome to the Future of Asia Podcast. Today’s topic is climate risk and response in Asia. And for something a little bit different, we are joined today by three journalists and reporters from the media. The context of our conversation is, very simply, climate change, climate risk, and sustainability—our generation’s imperative. So, there are many types of climate risks that we face in Asia, and Asia is very much at the epicenter of what is going on with climate risk. And the question is, what are those risks, and can Asia become a leader in mitigating and countering those risks?’
Bibek Bhattacharya: One thing that is really clear now as far as India is concerned, and more broadly, South Asia, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, is that the climate crisis is kind of hitting from multiple directions. I think the most pressing problem for India is heat, in terms of both heat waves and chronic heat. But then again, in India this year, we’ve had a super cyclone hit the eastern part of the country. We’ve had massive marine heat waves. We’ve had other extreme weather phenomena: violent monsoon rainfall, floods, and landslides. And in many ways, it’s kind of helping us put together the larger picture of the challenges being faced by this part of Asia, which is multipronged.
Oliver Tonby: What you’re describing has some very real and very tangible effects on climate change and risk, and the obvious things that follow from that. Is this recognized by the powers that be and the leaders of the country? And is it prioritized?
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