Asia is the world's largest and most economically dynamic continent. But it is also the driest, and its future may depend on how well it deals with what a U.N. panel on climate change is calling a growing risk of drought-related water and food shortages.
Unusually dry weather is parching swaths of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Korean Peninsula, Sri Lanka, Thailand and India. This trend threatens to further squeeze the availability of drinking water, hamper economic growth and -- together with the drought in the American West and parts of Brazil -- push up international food prices. Palm oil prices, for example, have already surged.