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Asia-Pacific Climate Digest # 9 : Week 2, May 2021

Compiled and Curated by Purnima Joshi

The week that went by saw ADB ramp up investment in climate change adaptation, and face the heat from NGOs to end loans to the fossil-fuel sector.

With China continuing to go ahead with planned coal projects, albeit with advanced technology, it’s clear that the road to net zero targets for Asia is a long and arduous one.

Recognising the need for tackling climate change on a war footing, there have been attempts by organizations and institutions to come up with ways to measure natural capital, as also guidelines, such as the Climate Change and Principle-based Taxonomy issued by Bank Negara Malaysia.

The business world has jumped on the environmental, social and governance (ESG) bandwagon in a serious way, and banks have shown increasing interest in sustainability with ESG investments doubling in 2020. New plans are afoot to establish the Asean Climate Change Center and create the Comprehensive Framework on Care Economy.

The key themes this week are climate governance, fossil-fuels sector,......

Reuters Sustainable Business, 2 May 2021

Key themes: Fossil Fuels, Climate Change

NGOs call on ADB to end fossil fuel loans amid climate reboot

  • A group of non-governmental organisations called on the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday to end loans to the fossil-fuels sector, as the international lender held its annual meeting virtually last week with the theme "Collaboration for Resilient and Green Recovery".

  • The ADB, which finances initiatives aimed at boosting economic prospects for Asia's poorest, is also reviewing its lending policies, which its own management has said are not fit for a climate-changed world.

  • More than 20 NGOs signed the statement sent to media for release on Monday. Financial institutions like the Asian Development Bank are expected to immediately stop lending money for coal, gas and oil projects.

South China Morning Post, 7 May 2021

Key themes: Politics, Climate Change

China on track to reach peak coal use, coal-fired capacity and emissions by 2025: energy expert

  • Peking University energy researcher says China could go ahead with some of its planned coal projects with advanced technology to replace outmoded tech

  • Power sector emissions could peak by 2025 at 4.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, says global energy researcher

  • By the end of 2020, China had 281.5GW wind generation capacity and 253.4GW solar generation capacity, according to the National Energy Administration. In addition to its installed coal power capacity of 1,095GW by 2020, China had 100GW capacity either under construction or approved for construction.

The Edge Malaysia, 9 May 2021

Key themes: Climate Governance, Biodiversity, Ecological Footprint

Climate and Environmental Governance: Natural capital and the true cost of living

  • At the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow in November, delegates would deliberate on the mounting rate of biodiversity loss from unsustainable exploitation of land and sea for food and industrial materials production.

  • These resources, or natural capital, include the planet’s stores of environmental assets such as geological reserves, soil, air, water and living organisms. Quantifying the true value of these assets and making users pay accordingly for their consumption will be critical to our success in limiting climate change.

  • Today, humankind consumes the planet’s natural capital 1.75 times faster than it can be regenerated, and that includes intensive agriculture, population growth and rapid urbanisation.

  • As we seek to tip the balance toward an economy which keeps consumption and recovery of the planet’s resources in equilibrium, the first challenge is valuation.

Lexology, 5 May 2021

Key themes: Climate Change, Climate Governance, Financial Institutions,

Malaysia Publishes Climate Change Taxonomy For Financial Institutions

  • Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) recently published Malaysia’s national climate-focused sustainability taxonomy for the financial sector, the Climate Change and Principle-based Taxonomy (CCPT), which sets out five Guiding Principles (GPs) intended to help financial institutions (FIs) assess and categorize economic activities according to the extent to which they meet climate objectives and promote the transition to a low-carbon economy.

  • The CCPT is intended to serve as a guide for BNM-supervised FIs including licensed banks, investment banks, Islamic banks, insurers and reinsurers, takaful and retakaful operators and prescribed development financial institutions. Other financial sector stakeholders, including intermediaries, can refer to the CCPT to guide their investment and asset selection decisions.

  • FIs are primarily encouraged to apply the GPs in transaction due diligence processes to assess whether an economic activity falls into one of three sustainability categories:

    • Climate Supporting activities with a positive impact on climate change mitigation and no significant harm to the environment (GP3);

    • Transitioning activities with a potential harm to the environment but remedial measures taken to reduce harmful practices;

    • Watchlist activities with a potential harm to the environment and no remedial measures taken to reduce harmful practices.

The Edge Malaysia, 9 May 2021

Key themes: Climate Change, Climate Finance,

ADB to ramp up investment in climate change adaptation, resilience projects

  • ADB will enhance its investments in adaptation and resilience in various ways so that our climate finance will be more balanced between mitigation and adaptation, while promoting strong integration of the ecological, social, institutional, and financial aspects of resilience across its operations.

  • The bank’s direction is in line with its goal of ensuring that 75% of its operational support climate action by 2030.

  • The Asia and Pacific region is bearing the brunt of climate change, and thus the small-island developing states need support, with the region being responsible for producing around half of the global greenhouse gas emissions, and 80% of the projected growth from coal demand likely to come from the region.

  • ADB will support developing member-countries to reduce their dependence on coal and eventually phase out coal power generation by setting standards and requirements such as emission intensities and minimum efficiency levels, while introducing low-carbon and climate-resilient technologies

Business World, 6 May 2021

Key themes : Climate Change, Renewable energy,

Asia renewables transition too slow to reverse emissions damage — ANZ

  • Asia’s transition to renewable energy is in progress but the pace of change is insufficient to curb carbon emissions with the region still dependent on coal-fired power, as per a recent ANZ Research. Philippines has increased its share of coal power in the four-year period after 2015.

  • Coal accounts for 55% of Asia’s CO2 emissions compared with the global average of 40%, thus reflecting its heavy reliance on it. However, Philippines has seen “encouraging developments” such as the Department of Energy’s moratorium on greenfield coal-fired projects.

  • Countries like China and India have been stepping up their renewable capacity with China set to reach its net zero target by 2060.

  • Market penetration for renewables remains low in Asia accounting for more than 8% of Asia’s primary energy mix in 2019, well below the global average of above 11%, The research added that falling costs for solar and onshore wind, as well as government policy, will determine the pace of the clean energy transition.

The Print, 6 May 2021

Key Themes : Climate Change, Investments, Climate Finance

South Korea earmarks USD 700 million for climate and ICT projects with ADB

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and South Korea have signed a memorandum of understanding earmarking 700 million dollars in co-financing from South Korea for ADB sovereign development projects over the next three year, to scale up ADB projects focusing on climate change and information and communication technology.

  • Half of the earmarked amount will co-finance projects through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF) established in 2019 by ASEAN governments and will help implement infrastructure projects that promote environmental sustainability including ocean health and contribute to climate change goals.

Regulation Asia, 8 May 2021

Key Themes : Energy Mix, Renewable Energy, Climate Change

China’s Long March to Net Zero

  • Risks of climate change are driving policy in China, presenting more sustainable investment opportunities for non-domestic asset owners and will require their backing too. Change of any kind will require ongoing government-led regulatory reform, as foreign investors encourage a greater focus on ESG factors by Chinese corporates

  • In the run-up to COP26, non-domestic ESG-conscious investors will increasingly find opportunities to invest in innovative Chinese corporates, according to analysts who also believe that China has been moving fast to reverse some of the climate externalities brought on by its huge [population] growth over the last decade, and Net-zero is going to accelerate the pace of change in certain technologies and innovations. China has spent twice as much as the US on climate action to date, bolstering its solar energy capacity to almost triple that of the US last year.

  • In terms of energy mix, much still remains to be done and renewable energy usage needs to be improved, non-coal generation plants accounting for less than half of China’s total power capacity share for the first time in 2020. The power output of non-fossil fuels also made up one third (34%) of China’s total power output, 1% higher than in 2019.

  • Regulatory bodies, financial institutions and leading corporates are backing sustainable fund launches to help spearhead investments in green projects and sustainable development. The state-run private equity fund is currently worth USD 13.6 billion and is backed by 26 investors.

Eco-Business, 9 May 2020

Key Themes : Governance, Climate Change

The 'triangle of deceit' in climate conversations: ESG, net-zero and voluntary carbon markets

  • Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been a flurry of announcements from companies declaring they’re going net-zero, and the business world has jumped on the environmental, social and governance (ESG) bandwagon in a serious way. Banks have shown increasing interest in sustainability with ESG investments doubling in 2020.

  • Even the corporate world is now showing more interest in climate action. Amid the blizzard of corporate decarbonisation announcements, there has been some scepticism though about how these ambitions will be realised, and what sort of solutions will be used to achieve them, specially on the part of Assaad Razzouk, a Singapore-based clean energy entrepreneur, and you may listen to his podcast to learn more.

Listen to the podcast on :, 8th May 2021

Key Themes : Climate Change, Asean

It’s time to be bold in Southeast Asia

  • The Asean Socio-Cultural Community Council recently announced new plans to establish the Asean Climate Change Center and create the Comprehensive Framework on Care Economy.

  • Unfortunately, the bloc appears to lack the strategy and vision and a serious effort for stronger integration, which is unsurprising given the structural differences between some of its members.

  • The states of the democratic camp within Asean could forge new understanding among them, elevate their cooperation to much higher levels, come up with new initiatives that, while autonomous and independent from the Asean institutional framework, might also give the bloc a much-needed jolt in the end.

  • Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, and perhaps one day, a more democratic Thailand, should forge a future-forward partnership framework to advance their national and regional interests from a shared perspective, one that is founded on the rule of law anchored in democratic and human rights principles.

Additional reads :

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.


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