Compiled and Curated by Purnima Joshi
Good morning! Here is your weekly edition of the CGM Asia-Pacific Climate Digest, with news on climate change and governance from the Asia-Pacific region.
Channel News Asia, International Edition
8 April 2021
Key Theme : Marine ecosystem, climate change
Shrinking sea meadows store more carbon than forests. Scientists are racing to track what's left
Seagrasses, spotted fluttering in the ocean currents sweeping across an underwater mountain plateau in the western Indian Ocean play a large role in regulating ocean environments, storing more than twice as much carbon from planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) per square mile, as forests do on land.
They provide some buffer from acidification, which can damage animals' shells and disrupt fish behaviours.
Data on seagrass meadows are patchy, but research so far estimates the grasses cover more than 300,000 sq km, distributed across all continents apart from Antarctica. This has massive implications for the (world's) climate change mitigation efforts
Seagrass meadows are believed to be retreating around 7 per cent per year globally, according to the most recent seagrass census published.
Mint Lounge 10 April 2021 Key Theme : Indian Industry, climate change The damaging effects of climate change on Indian industry
With the emergence of heatwave conditions across India, experts point out that with the impacts of climate change increasing, such conditions over South Asia could last longer than during the hottest months of April, May and June. Not only is India going to have to find solutions for extreme heat, but also something more insidious called chronic heat.
According to estimates, if the world heats up by even 3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100, India would see anywhere between 100-250 days of dangerous, constant heat. This could also grind down people’s health, impacting on productivity and thus the economy.
Indian industry also has the responsibility of looking after the well-being of its workers and the communities living near its sites—to equip them with new skills and help them adapt to climate risks. But the challenge is very clear: Without industry, the world cannot win its fight against climate change.
SDG Knowledge Hub, a project by IISD 7 April 2021 Key Theme : Sustainable Development, Climate Change ESCAP Forum Calls for Regional Cooperation to Avoid Greater Economic Divergence
The recently concluded Eighth Annual Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, hosted by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) had a resounding call for countries to build resilience to the twin crises that threaten our future the most – the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate emergency.
There were commitments voiced by participants to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, green bonds for climate finance, and pledges by over 300 local governments to become ‘Zero Carbon Cities’ by 2050. Support for a ‘Green Deal for Asia and the Pacific’ to address regional and global sustainability challenges and achieve a triple bottom line were expressed.
VOA 6 April 2021 Key Theme : China-US Co-operation, Climate change Kerry Takes Climate Change Message to Asia
John Kerry, the special presidential envoy for climate, is urging cooperation between the U.S. and China, and everyone else, on climate change because “no one nation can solve this problem by itself — impossible. Each of us needs everybody else at the table to make this happen”. It is a bunch of countries that are emitting a pretty sizable amount, with US and China being the most and accounting for 43% of the global carbon dioxide emissions.
Kerry praised India as being indisputably a world leader already in the deployment of renewable energy and pushing the curve towards getting the job done on climate.
Washington's stated approach to China is to be 'collaborative when it can be' as well as to not make unsavoury concessions in those other areas, in exchange for Chinese cooperation in the climate area. From the Chinese side, there may be feeling there is not much to be gained by proactively initiating the direct one-on-one climate engagement, especially when climate is a top priority to the Biden administration, and not to China
Biden's recent $2 trillion infrastructure proposal includes an investment of $35 billion into clean technologies and $174 billion on overhauling the country's electrical vehicle market. Meanwhile, China's investment in clean energy reached $83.4 billion in 2019.
Business Times 7 April 2021 Key Theme : ASEAN-UK Co-operation, Climate change Digital and green strong avenues of growth for ASEAN and UK
The UK’s recent Integrated Review, outlining its international priorities in a post-Brexit world reflect a clear and strong tilt towards opportunities in digital and climate change within Southeast Asia. This is likely to have a significant effect on the already high level of British investment in the region.
Southeast Asia is also looking to urgently address climate challenges being one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change. It is estimated that there will be a GDP per capita loss for Asean members, of up to 11 per cent by 2100 if not addressed.
There are however differences between the UK and Asean when it comes to transition pathways to lower carbon emissions. For instance, the UK has pledged to be net zero by 2050, something that’s still an uncertainty for the Asean member states. This creates challenges when it comes to what the UK can invest in within Asean.
Asean has some opportunities to accelerate its transition, such as shifting its energy sources to lower carbon emitting ones. Fundamental to achieving this is establishing a baseline across the region for accurately and mutually agreeing on what “green’ actually is.
ASEAN Times 6 April 2021 Key Theme : Asean Geology, Climate change For Southeast Asia’s sinking cities, climate change is a design problem
As Southeast Asia’s megacities continue to grow, some of the region’s biggest population centres are facing a growing design problem - Jakarta, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh as examples are feared to be sinking at values ranging from 20 to 80 millimeters per year.
Understanding and addressing the region’s sinking cities is becoming increasingly important as a sinking city makes any built adaptations to climate change more complicated to design and possibly less effective and this will determine how urban populations are impacted by climate change. The sinking city also experiences effects of sea level rise much faster than it otherwise would.
Sinking cities in Southeast Asia are taking a variety of approaches to their predicament. For example in the case of Bangkok, the government restricted use of groundwater. Thousands of wells have been built in Ho Chi Minh.
Cities like Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City may also be much more vulnerable than previously thought with it being estimated that the homes of at least 300 million people may be submerged by regular flooding due to rising sea levels.
Climate Bonds Initiative, 8 April 2021 Key Themes: Agriculture, Climate Change India: Agricultural Resilience in the face of continuing climate impacts
Climate change disruptions and how they will be transmitted to the real economy are all challenges for India.
Increasing the flow of private and public capital to resilient agricultural measures are a critical tool for alleviating climate change impacts and chronic distress facing the sector.
Adaptation and resilience in agriculture has been a running theme in India’s flagship National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture, whose focus is on “enhancing food security by making agriculture more productive, sustainable, remunerative, and climate resilient.” But the progress under the mission has been modest at best.
State-level action plans on climate change are essentially adaptation plans but need a far greater injection of capital than they currently receive through central grants and funds.
4 April 2021
Key Themes: Climate Change, Climate Change Ministry, Green Initiatives
Pak, Saudi govts expanding collaboration to tackle climate change: Amin Aslam
Saudi Arabia and Pakistani governments are expanding research and collaboration links to tackle climate change across the two countries.
Saudi government was ready to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Pakistani climate change ministry to increase collaborations in environmental, climate change, renewable energy, water conservation and rainwater harvesting to promote Pakistan’s green initiatives in Saudi Arabia.
This agreement would strengthen our security, build resilience to global challenges like climate change, Covid-19 and would boost strategic advantages through science and technology,” he mentioned. Amin also reaffirmed his country’s desire to further strengthen amiable and fraternal ties with Saudi Arabia and also reiterated Pakistan’s support for the kingdom’s sovereignty.
The National News, UAE 5 April 2021 Key Theme: Marine ecosystem, Global warming Global warming puts 99% of Great Barrier Reef coral at risk, study finds Australia’s spectacular marine feature could almost cease to exist unless global warming is brought under control
More than half of the coral of the Great Barrier Reef has been lost in the past three decades, which faces large-scale destruction with almost 70 to 99 per cent of coral at risk due to global warming.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has moved the reef’s status to critical and deteriorating on its watch list.
Progress towards protecting the reef under a long-term sustainability plan to 2050 has been slow, but scientists have been involved in various individual projects aimed at improving the reef and helping to protect it.
Southern Cross University’s Marine Ecology Research Centre has led a project, in conjunction with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, which has re-established 60 coral-reproducing populations on the reef through the programme.
Yahoo! news 10 April 2021 Key Theme: Northern Australia, Climate change Doctors flee Top End due to climate change
Australia’s Northern Territory experienced its fifth warmest year on record in 2020 with much warmer than average temperatures across the entire Top End, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
The Territory's oppressive heat could lead to health workforce shortages in rural and remote communities. The heat kills and will decimate our rural health workforce and worsen existing healthcare inequity in the region.
They experience much poorer health outcomes with lower life compared to the non-Indigenous populations.
The research was published in The Lancet Planetary Health.
We wish you a productive week ahead. Thank you.
The CGM Team
P.S : This is the fifth edition of the CGM Asia-Pacific Climate Digest, created to keep corporates, industry and policy makers posted on climate change-related news and highlights from the Asia-Pacific region. We hope you will find this beneficial. Thank you.
CGM's Asia-Pacific Climate Digest is compiled by Communications Consultant, Purnima Joshi. With over two decades of experience in corporate communications, Purnima combines her skills in creative and communication along with her passion for working for the community. She has worked on a multitude of projects in waste management, circular economy, building active citizenship in the community, some of which have won awards.These also include a project on building climate resilience for UNICEF as well as some award-winning projects. She has been associated with several NGOs in an advisory capacity for over 10 years.