Climate change is likely to significantly affect economies in the Asia-Pacific region, threatening the increasingly industrialised coastal belt and hurting the region's poor, the World Bank said on Thursday.
Rising sea levels, more intense storms and greater extremes of droughts and floods will probably cause greater loss of life and threaten the livelihoods of millions, the Bank said in a report.
Countries in the region are partly to blame, the Bank said, because of their dependence on fossil fuels, and they needed to do more to promote energy efficiency to cut the emission of greenhouse gases.
They also needed to become better adapted to the coming weather extremes to limit the damage and protect livelihoods.
"The region's GDP is likely to be significantly impacted by climate change, albeit in an uneven fashion," said the report, part of the Bank's twice-yearly review of East Asian Economies.
The region, home to about two billion people stretching from tiny Pacific island nations to populous Indonesia and powerhouse China, was also highly vulnerable to climate change.
"Due to its geography, it is one of the regions most at risk from natural disasters," the report adds.
Coastal areas were particularly vulnerable because of the huge investment in infrastructure, such as roads, cities and industrial complexes, and because many of the countries in the region were island nations.
"While the region is still largely rural, most of its GDP and its mega cities, especially in China, are located on the coast -- prime candidates to be impacted by sea level rise and weather-related disasters," it said.
Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia, along with China, could suffer sharp cuts in their gross domestic product as a result of a rise in the sea level, it added, citing a recent study.