This article is from ECHO Asia Note #16

During the 2012 ECHO Agriculture Workshop in Yangon, 63 attendees representing at least 25 agriculture and community development organizations from across Myanmar were polled about their observations and opinions related to climate change. The vast majority of the respondents indicated that they were not only aware of climate change, but that they had also noticed change in the local climate or weather patterns. Additionally, 86 percent expressed that they understood that climate change is caused by human activity.

Belief in climate change fluctuates and varies worldwide, with some populations more convinced of change than others. A September 2012 Yale University poll determined that seven in ten Americans (70 percent) believe global warming is happening, while relatively few – only 12 percent – believe it is not. But while overall belief in climate change may be increasing around the world, understanding the roots of its cause appears much more limited. In addition, necessary strategies for adapting to climate change as well as determining approaches to address (or mitigate) its causes are still preliminary.

Meanwhile, climate change is already causing deaths and damaging the global economy. A 2012 study carried out by the DARA Group and the Climate Vulnerable Forum concluded that climate change was already contributing to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people a year and costing the world more than $1.2 trillion US, wiping 1.6 percent annually from the global economy. The impacts were being felt most keenly in developing countries, where damage to agricultural production from extreme weather linked to climate change has been contributing to deaths from malnutrition, poverty and their associated diseases (The Guardian, September 26, 2012). The impacts are expected to worsen over the next two decades (Reuters, September 26, 2012)