Grim predictions have been aired about the future consequences of rising sea levels.
The total of people missing or killed by extreme weather was 9,500 from 2001 to 2010. In addition to the devastating human toll, it diminished the GDP by 1.5 per cent each year according to the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr. Nguyen Minh Quang, on the television show People Ask- Ministers Answer which aired yesterday.
He predicted that the average temperature of Vietnam would increase by around 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, causing the sea level to rise by one metre. If this prediction becomes a reality, the Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City will respectively lose 39 and 20 per cent of their land area. Moreover, the Red River Delta and provinces in the middle of Vietnam will be reduced by about 10 and 3 per cent respectively.
"In general, about 10 per cent of Vietnam's population will be directly influenced by climate change," Mr. Quang said. He estimated a negative impact of about 9 per cent of GDP. "It's such a enormous damage," he emphasized.
The Minister said that it was necessary to find a solution to reduce the damage, with solutions until 2020 revolving around adapting to climate change. More proactive answers will be put into place leading up to 2050.
Solutions in the next five years include the rejuvenation of mangrove forests because they play an important role in adapting to climate change, Mr. Quang stressed. He pointed out that Vietnam used to have vast areas of mangroves. However, largely due to the impact of shrimp farming, the forests had been on a sharp decline.
From 1943 until now, about 242,000ha of mangroves were removed owing to business projects. Hence, their restoration is an urgent proposition, as they are felt to be in important locations to protect Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho from the fallout of rising sea levels.