Leaders from around the world will meet this week in New York to UN Climate Ambition Summit. The objective is to verify progress towards a “more equitable global economy based on renewable energy and climate resilient.” John Thwaites reports.
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (March 2023) stated that “multiple, feasible and effective options exist to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change, and they are available now.”
However, the gap between ambition and actions, even in our region, does not bode well.
Asia and the Pacific’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, and in some respects the region is going backwards. And Australia leads the way as our region’s largest emitter per capita. Each person in Australia emits 15.4 tonnes of CO2 per year, according to 2020 figures from ‘Our World in Data’. This is more than three times the global average of 4.7 tonnes.
Sustainable Development Goals versus achievement
From the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), climate action was the only one whose results regressed in Asia-Pacific between 2015 and 2023.
Progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 13, taking “urgent action to address climate change”, has been a case of two steps forward and one step back in Asia and the Pacific.
Over the past two years, Asia-Pacific countries have made progress: Porcelain and Indonesia have committed to transition their economies to net zero emissions by 2060, Australia and most Southeast Asian countries by 2050.
China has invested massively in renewable energies. Indonesia has slowed down deforestation, Vietnam has increased significantly expanded solar energy and Australia is pointing towards More than 80 percent of electricity will be renewable by 2030.
but a 2023 A postponement He said SDG 13 was “slipping away” and that Asia and the Pacific was “both victim… and perpetrator of climate change”. There is work to do to get SDG 13 back on track.
Climate finance has increased, but it falls short of what is needed for both mitigation and adaptation efforts. The financing gap is widening in emerging and developing economies due to discrepancies in financing costs.
For example, the estimated capital cost for a solar PV panel in key emerging economies was between two and three times greater than in advanced economies and China.
Asia-Pacific has enormous potential to accelerate climate action with strengthened collaboration. Increase network connectivity in Southeast Asian countries through ASEAN Power Grid Initiative can improve energy security, increase the efficiency of energy acquisition, and increase the absorption of renewable energy.
Increasing knowledge sharing and capacity development is also critical to progress in the region. For example, him ASEAN Green Future ProjectA collaboration between the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the Climateworks Center and research groups across Southeast Asia, has shown that coordination to build and strengthen low-carbon value chains can catalyze a rapid transformation of Southeast Asia into a global hub. global low carbon.
An informed and collective response will form the basis of future success. The diverse economic landscapes and political contexts of Asia and the Pacific can shape adaptation strategies, resilience building and emissions reduction techniques.
In adaptation, as in mitigation, this knowledge sharing is essential, particularly to catalyze financing and political support to the most vulnerable nations.
Climate change is causing more intense and frequent extreme weather events, and there are serious vulnerabilities in the region, including rising sea levels in the Pacific and flooding and typhoons in tropical Asia.
A person living in Asia and the Pacific is six times more likely more affected by disasters than someone living outside the region, resulting in thousands of lives lost and millions of dollars in economic damage.
The number of lives lost in disasters is dwarfed by deaths attributable to air pollution, much of it caused by burning coal.
Of the seven million premature deaths Globally, as a result of air pollution, more than four million were in Asia and the Pacific.
Reducing reliance on coal helps mitigate climate change and also has an immediate health benefit for people living in the region.
While some countries are making progress, others face unique challenges.
Indonesia, for example, is at a crucial moment. The announcement at the G20 in 2020 of $20 billion in financing to support a Partnership for a just energy transition in Indonesia has, together with the Global resource race fueled by US Inflation Reduction Actcreated significant opportunities for transition in Indonesia.
However, more policy reforms are needed to increase the adoption of renewable energy. Indonesia has significant capacity for solar energy, but regulatory limitations make it very difficult to compete.
Given the urgent need to address climate change, the imperative is not only to set goals or objectives, but also to achieve them.
In Australia, targets backed by significant political and economic incentives have been key to progress: electricity generation from renewable sources has grew 167 percent in 10 yearsdriven by meaningful policies and incentives to make those goals a reality.