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Southeast Asia could lose $28 trillion if it fails to act fast on climate change, report finds

  • Southeast Asia's economy is set to lose trillions over the next 50 years if it does not significantly reduce its carbon emissions, a Deloitte report found.
  • The region's services industry is predicted to lose $9 trillion by 2070, followed by $7 trillion of losses in manufacturing, while retail and tourism could collectively lose $5 trillion.
  • Southeast Asia needs to pivot from seeing global warming efforts as an optional cost, to seeing it as "an investment in a climate-driven transformation to a better future," said Deloitte.

A man walking past wind turbines at the Phu Lac wind farm in southern Vietnam's Binh Thuan province.MANAN VATSYAYANA | AFP | Getty Images

Southeast Asia's economy could lose trillions of dollars over the next 50 years if the region does not act to reduce carbon emissions significantly, a Deloitte report found.

In fact, the region is at a turning point, and can turn the cost into an opportunity, the report said.

If Southeast Asia steps up efforts on climate change and rapidly reduces emissions, it could achieve economic gains of $12.5 trillion in present value terms — with an average GDP growth of 3.5% each year for the next 50 years, according to the consulting firm.

"This potential future not only avoids the worst impacts of climate change, it also creates prosperous long-term economic growth for Southeast Asia and the world," said Deloitte.

Unmitigated climate change threatens to wipe out decades of hard-won economic growth in Southeast Asia.Deloitte

Failing to do so, however, could lead to global warming of more than 3°C by 2070, according to Deloitte's model. This could cost the region economic losses worth about $28 trillion in present value terms in the next 50 years, and reduce GDP growth by an average of 7.5% each year in the same period, according to Deloitte's forecast.

Southeast Asia prosperity 'at risk'

Southeast Asia is home to half a billion people and has a gross domestic product of $3 trillion, according to Deloitte.

The region — defined in the report as Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Timor-Leste and Thailand – has seen a 5% to 12% average annual per capita GDP growth since the 21st century.

"Unmitigated climate change threatens to wipe out decades of hard-won economic growth in Southeast Asia," Deloitte said.

"The foundations of the region's prosperity — it's natural and human capital — are at risk, and along with them each nation's standard of living, its prospects for future growth, its place on the global stage and the wellbeing of its people."

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