10.7.2 Economic growth and equitable development
Rapid economic growth characterised by increasing urbanisation and industrialisation in several countries of Asia (i.e., China, India and Vietnam) will likely drive the increase in the already high demand for raw materials such as cement, wood, steel and other construction materials in Asia. Consequently, the use of forests, minerals and other natural resources will increase along with the increase in carbon emission. The challenge here is finding the development pathways wherein GHG emission is minimised while attaining high economic growth (Jiang et al., 2000). Equally vital in this regard is the promotion of equity in spreading the benefits that will arise from economic growth so as to uplift the condition of the poor sector to a state of enhanced capacity to adapt to climate change. Another concern related to economic growth is the increase in the value of land to a level where it becomes economically less profitable to farm agricultural land than using the land for industrial and commercial purposes. In the absence of appropriate regulatory intervention, this can undermine the production of adequate food supply and further jeopardise the access of the poor to food support.
Sustaining economic growth in the context of changing climate in many Asian countries will require the pursuit of enhancing preparedness and capabilities in terms of human, infrastructural, financial and institutional dimensions with the aim in view of reducing the impacts of climate change on the economy. For instance, in many developing countries, instituting financial reforms could likely result in a more robust economy that is likely to be less vulnerable to changing climate (Fase and Abma, 2003). In countries with predominantly agrarian economies, climate change, particularly an increase in temperature and reduction in precipitation, could, in the absence of adequate irrigation and related infrastructural interventions, dampen the economic growth by reducing agricultural productivity (Section 10.4.1).