Thongchai Thailand

Vietnam faces a huge challenge from climate change

Posted on: July 18, 2010

Reduced water flow caused by dams upstream allows brackish water to encroach farther into deltas than it normally does and thereby to adversely affect traditional agriculture in coastal regions. Yet, the UNDP is trying to pin the salinity problem in the Mekong delta on global warming knowing full well that dams in China have significantly reduced the flow in the Mekong River (Salty waters parched earth, Bangkok Post, July 18, 2010).

The further claim, that global warming has afflicted Vietnam with worsening droughts, floods, typhoons, and tides, is derived from the 2007 UN-IPCC report which says that global warming is causing extreme weather. This claim by the IPCC was based on a single research paper that had found a rising cost of weather disasters from 1970 to 2005.

This paper has since been discredited as it was found that the effect was an artifact of Hurricane Katrina. If you remove 2005 from the data the effect disappears. The IPCC was challenged with these findings and it was subsequently forced to withdraw its 2007 claim that global warming causes extreme weather.

In any case, if drought and salinity are devastating rice farming in the Mekong delta, it is not evident in the production statistics which show that overproduction has left the delta awash in rice with the urgent problem being low demand and falling prices, not global warming (Vietnam rice growers face low prices, Bangkok Post, July 19, 2010).

Cha-am Jamal


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