South Asia's hotspots: how climate change will affect living standards - report preview

South Asia is highly vulnerable to climate change. Given that many of the poor live in areas prone to climactic shifts and in occupations that are highly climate-sensitive, such as agriculture and fisheries, future climate change could have significant implications for living standards. At the same time, the effect of climate change will vary significantly depending on the level of exposure and the inherent adaptive capacities of individuals, households, and communities. It is therefore important to understand how climate varies spatially and over time at a relatively granular level and to better understand the corresponding spatial effects of climate change on living standards. This report will aid in the development of targeted policies to improve resilience of the people, especially the poor and vulnerable, to future climatic shifts. Using historic and projected climate and household survey data, this study investigates the historic spatial patterns of climate change across South Asia at the district level, the effect of changes in long-term average climate on living standards at the household level, and where the future hotspots may be. The analysis complements studies that have investigated effects of extreme climate events and finds that projected future temperature and precipitation changes could create a significant challenge for certain geographic areas and populations, which could reduce gains in increases to living standards that have taken place over the past decades.