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Climate change and its impact on cultural shifts in East and southeast Asia

Niem Tu Huynh

pp. 245-302

Predictions warn that the annual mean warming across land in Asia will be approximately 3 °C (5.4 °F) in the 2050s and about 5 °C (9 °F) by the 2080s. Water surface temperatures are projected to increase 2 to 4 °C (3.6 to 7.2 °F). This region will experience more heat waves, heavy precipitation events, and cyclones than the present. Characteristics that make this region particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change are a high rate of poverty that spans across many Asian countries, the susceptibility towards endemic illnesses, and increasingly dense populations that reside along coastlines and low-lying areas. This chapter focuses on four countries in South and Southeast Asia: Cambodia, China , Philippines, and Vietnam, each with characteristics that make them susceptible to climate change. Cambodia has a high rate of poverty and an agricultural sector that is climate dependent. China is seeing a rapid and massive migration from inland to coastal areas as well as urbanization . The Philippines is an archipelago. The country is not well equipped to respond to effects of climate change partly due to its geography as well as such factors as poverty and poor infrastructure. Like China, 74 % of the population in Vietnam is concentrated along the coastal plains and river deltas with an equally large urban population distributed in low lying areas. How will the Asian population react to the impact(s) of climate change on the physical environment (e.g., food production and water resources, ecosystem degradation, and coastal regions) that have a direct influence on their livelihood and culture? Projection of cultural shift rests on key and significant changes that include migration patterns from coastal to inland, diversification of livelihood (e.g., change agricultural practices), and solutions to protect valuable water resources. Together, these shifts will impact the economy, social structure, and culture across multiple and interlocking scales as we know it today.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-7353-0_12

Full citation:

Tu Huynh, N. (2014)., Climate change and its impact on cultural shifts in East and southeast Asia, in J. Norwine (ed.), A world after climate change and culture-shift, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 245-302.

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