Aug. 17 (UPI) -- The Asian Development Bank said it can tap into a new capital stream from a multilateral climate fund to help green up the economies of the Asia-Pacific.
The ADB and the Green Climate Fund signed an agreement that gives the development bank access to the climate funds. Established in 1966, the ADB aims to reduce poverty in the Asia-Pacific and stimulate sustainable economic growth. The climate fund was set up in 2010 in order to steer finances toward developments that would limit regional greenhouse gas emissions.
"As the dynamo of global economic growth, with Asia Pacific continuing to record the world's strongest growth, this region has a key role to play in tackling climate change," Acting GCF General Counsel Raul Herrera said in a statement. "The vital importance of Asia in meeting the climate challenge, along with GCF's mandate to pursue transformative low-emission and climate-resilient development across the planet, means a shared strategic approach between GCF and ADB in this area is essential."
With many of the low-lying Pacific Islands facing the earliest risks from the impacts of climate change, a report from the ADB found that, if left unchecked, climate change could lead to the loss of about $52 billion per year for regional economies. With rising protectionism from countries like the United States, however, consultant group Frost & Sullivan said the economies in the Asia-Pacific will take up the mantle as a means to buffer against the impacts of global policy shifts.
The Marshall Islands, located in the northern Pacific Ocean, has a population of about 68,000 spread over 34 low-lying coral atolls, comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets. The average height of the islands is about 6 feet above sea level.
Already, it is experiencing the effects of climate change, mostly from rising sea levels which have caused flooding and inundation of crops. Government officials said that if climate change continues as it is now, there could be 2 million people from the Pacific region who will become refugees.