Sri Lanka businesses likely to suffer big losses from climate change: eco lawyer

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan businesses are likely to suffer losses from the effects of climate change with hotels vulnerable to sea level rise and plantations and agribusinesses to changes in rainfall, an environmental law expert said.

Climate change will have devastating impacts on citizens, businesses and the national budget, Attorney-at-Law Lalanath de Silva told a forum held by the Sri Lanka Business and Biodiversity Platform, known as Biodiversity Sri Lanka.

“The cost runs into millions, if not billions, of US dollars,” he said.

“There is likely to be significant inundation along the coast in Galle, Negombo and even Colombo,” de Silva told the CEO Forum of Biodiversity Sri Lanka, a private sector-led platform to encourage increased corporate involvement in biodiversity and environmental conservation.

“Coastal businesses are vulnerable such as tourist hotels and fishermen. Plantations that will suffer massive climate change impacts will either fail, go bankrupt or suffer massive losses.”

When it is known that parts of the shoreline will be lost to rising seas, de Silva said, “allowing businesses to invest and build permanent buildings is foolish and short sighted because they will be lost.”

Some areas will go under water in about 5-10 years,  others in 20-year and 50-year horizons.

The coconut industry is one that is forecast to suffer major losses, de Silva said.

De Silva cited an Asian Development Bank study that said tropical regions of South Asia, including Sri Lanka, are projected to be vulnerable to increasing temperatures and carbon dioxide levels with a decline in rice yields.

Climate change will destroy or damage some industrial establishments while agribusinesses will suffer heavy damage through droughts, floods, and changes to behaviour of pests.





“If you don’t prepare for climate change you will need to prepare for lower returns on your investments and prepare to take significant economic losses,” de Silva said. (COLOMBO, 20 September, 2018)

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