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Global warming to hit Asia hardest, U.N. says

"Considerably greater ambition is needed to match the scale of the global challenge posed by climate change," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

By Brooks Hays
Global warming to hit Asia hardest, U.N. says
A thick smog, rated as 'Hazardous' by the U.S. embassy, hangs over central Beijing on February 20, 2014. UPI/Stephen Shaver | License Photo

The millions of people living in Asia's major coastal cities will be some of the most vulnerable to global warming's expected consequences -- flooding, famine, rising sea levels.

The United Nations is preparing to release a report on the most immediate effects of global warming. The report, "Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability," is still in draft form, but a final markup was given to the Observer over the weekend.

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The report -- which highlights the most-immediate risks of low-lying, densely-populated cities along Asia's coast -- will be published and open for discussion at this week's meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Yokohama, Japan.

According to the Observer, the report stresses that preventative measures must be taken sooner rather than later to protect the most vulnerable populations.

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Though even the most modernized cities will face the consequences of global warming, the study's authors point out that those in the developing world will be at greater risk: "Heat stress, extreme precipitation, inland and coastal flooding, as well as drought and water scarcity, pose risks in urban areas with risks amplified for those lacking essential infrastructure and services or living in exposed areas."

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The UN has been ramping up talk of collective action on the problem of global warming. Over the weekend, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the 20th anniversary of the first United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The 21st convention will be held next year in Paris.

While praising the UN's 20 years of work on climate change, and the passage of the Kyoto Protocol -- the world’s first greenhouse gas reduction treaty -- Ban insisted that there was plenty more to be accomplished.

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"Considerably greater ambition is needed to match the scale of the global challenge posed by climate change," challenged Moon. “We know what we need to do and how to do it. As we mark this anniversary, let us rediscover the commitment that brought the Convention to life."

[The Observer] [The United Nations]

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