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PH climate change hit could top 10% of GDP

Climate change losses will likely top 10 percent of the domestic economy by 2050, a senior World Bank official warned.

"More than half of global losses from natural disasters already occur in East Asia and the Pacific," World Bank Managing Director Anna Bjerde told Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministers in San Francisco.

"[W]e estimate the impacts from climate change could exceed 10 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) in economies such as the Philippines or Vietnam by 2050," she added.

Bjerde highlighted the need for cooperative efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change and noted that achieving economic growth today was not a straightforward task.

"We all need to work together to address climate change. APEC economies are already heavily affected by climate change but are also contributing to it," she said.

A third of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions and 60 percent of global coal consumption were said to come from East Asia and the Pacific.

To address this, Bjerde suggested investing in large-scale clean energy and electrification, improving energy efficiency, refraining from building new coal plants, and speeding up the retirement of old coal plants.

Embracing the green transition, she added, offers numerous innovation opportunities that can drive regional growth if utilized effectively.

Additionally, prioritizing adaptation is crucial due to the region's vulnerability to natural disasters, particularly the small Pacific island economies facing extreme weather events.

"The World Bank is committed to supporting APEC economies," Bjerde said.

"We have numerous programs that are aimed at supporting the economic policies implemented by country authorities and projects designed to improve people's livelihoods," she added.

The World Bank official claimed that the multilateral institution was putting a strong emphasis on climate action, with 46 percent of East Asia and Pacific commitments for 2022 having contributed to such.

In the Philippines, the World Bank has provided assistance for the establishment of disaster recovery systems and improved resilience.

The support includes catastrophe bonds, funding for disaster response, local government catastrophe risk insurance programs, national indemnity insurance, and initiatives to enhance infrastructure and flood management.

Bjerde said that of upcoming programs and projects for financing from 2024 to 2025, 20 are still to be signed for loans worth $5.677 billion.

"Today's development challenges are daunting and global in nature," she said.

"However, at the World Bank, we remain optimistic that the right policy solutions and investments can revitalize growth, revive poverty reduction, and increase resilience against future shocks," Bjerde added.

"We are working on transforming the World Bank to better support countries to tackle global challenges."

Source: Manila Times

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