IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

10.5.6 Human dimensions

Rapid population growth, urbanisation and weak land-use planning and enforcement are some of the reasons why poor people move to fragile and high-risk areas which are more exposed to natural hazards. Moreover, the rapid growth of industries in urban areas has induced rural-urban migration. Rural development together with networking and advocacy, and building alliances among communities is a prerequisite for reducing the migration of people to cities and coastal areas in most developing countries of Asia (Kelly and Adger, 2000). Raising awareness about the dangers of natural disasters, including those due to climate extremes, is also crucial among the governments and people so that mitigation and preparedness measures could be strengthened. Social capital has been paid attention to build adaptive capacity (Allen, 2006). For example, a community-based disaster management programme was introduced to reduce vulnerability and to strengthen people’s capacity to cope with hazards by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre, Bangkok (Pelling, 2003).

Tourism is one of the most important industries in Asia, which is the third centre of tourism activities following Europe and North America. Sea-level rise, warming sea temperatures and extreme weather events are likely to have impacts on the regions’ islands and coasts which attract considerable number of visitors from countries such as Japan and Taiwan (World Tourism Organization, 2003; Hamilton et al., 2005). Relevant adaptation measures in this case include designing and building appropriate infrastructures to protect tourists, installation and maintenance of weather prediction and hazard warning systems, especially during rainy and tropical storm seasons. Conservation of mangroves is considered as effective natural protection against storm surges, coastal erosion and strong wave actions (Mazda et al., 1997, 2006; Vermaat and Thampanya, 2006). To minimise the anticipated impact of global warming on the ski industry, development of new leisure industries more resistant to or suited to a warmer atmosphere, thus avoiding excessive reliance on the ski industry, e.g., grass-skiing, hiking, residential lodging and eco-tourism, could be helpful in compensating for the income reduction due to snow deterioration (Fukushima et al., 2002).

To minimise the risks of heat stress that are most pronounced in large cities due to the urban heat-island effect in summer (Kalnay and Cai, 2003) urban planning should consider: reducing the heat island in summer, the heat load on buildings, cooling load and high night-time temperature, and taking climate change into account in planning new buildings and setting up new regulations on buildings and urban development. Planting trees, building houses with arcades and provision for sufficient ventilation could help in reducing heat load (Shimoda, 2003). The use of reflective surfaces, control of solar radiation by vegetation and blinds, earth tubes, the formation of air paths for natural ventilation, and rooftop planting could reduce the cooling load.