Boeing 747 aircraft sit in flood waters at Bangkok's domestic Don Muang airport in 2011. REUTERS / Sukree Sukplang

If left unchecked, climate change could lead to the loss of about US$52 billion per year for the economies of Asia-Pacific and severely threaten the region through flooding and plummeting rice production, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.

A report from the US, Japan-led development bank, picked up by UPI, found that a business-as-usual scenario would lead to an increase in rainfall by as much as 50 percent. Total regional losses from the flooding expected by 2050 could be in the range of US$52 billion per year, compared with the US$6 billion reported about a decade ago.

If the region does nothing, the ADB also predicted that rice yields would plunge by 50 percent.

“The global climate crisis is arguably the biggest challenge human civilization faces in the 21st century, with the Asia and Pacific region at the heart of it all,” Bambang Susantono, the ADB’s vice president for sustainable development said in a statement.

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