Asia-Pacific Climate Digest Issue #8 : Week 1, May 2021

Compiled and Curated by Purnima Joshi.

More money is flowing into green, sustainable finance. But the Asia-Pacific region needs to up the ante in terms of being ahead of the curve in order to meet its climate targets of 2030 and 2050, and more so because the region has been among the most highly impacted by climate change disasters. Apart from Japan and China being ahead of their Asian peers in terms of understanding need for environmental disclosure, most of Asia is not taking climate risks into account in working towards developing climate resilient infrastructure. Yet, all is not as bleak as ESG reporting by business in the region is slowing and steadily increasing, which is clearly a positive sign.

The key themes this week are on climate finance, corporate strategy, inter-government partnerships on SDGs, sustainability goals…

Eco Business, 26 April 2021

Key Themes : Finance, ESG. Leadership Summit, Climate Change

Green finance will help put the brakes on climate change, but Asian companies risk missing out

  • Asia is on the front line of climate change with six of the ten largest economic loss events in 2019 caused by extreme precipitation, and courting private investment will be key to plugging the finance gap to fulfil the need for climate resilient infrastructure. But Asia is not taking climate risks into sufficient account, according to a panel of experts speaking at the recent CNA Leadership Summit

  • Asset owners and managers are placing emphasis on environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations in their investment agendas and wasn’t greater disclosures, generally looking at how the businesses they invest in are going to insulate themselves against risks, such as excess carbon emissions. However, the integration and reporting of ESG remains patchy, particularly in Asia, thus could be detrimental to companies based here looking for capital. In this regard though, China and Japan appear to be ahead of their Asian peers in terms of understanding the need to report their environmental impact and have high disclosure rates.

  • There should be certain mandatory obligations that are created to take this seriously.

Read further …

Eco Business, 26 April 2021

Key Themes : ASEAN, Paris Agreement, Climate Change

ASEAN needs a green new deal

  • More than 190 countries around the world have issued commitments to curtail greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the five years since the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change and these commitments when summed up would reduce GHG emissions by a mere one percent by 2030, whereas a 45 percent reduction is needed to avoid catastrophic climate change in the decades ahead.

  • Southeast Asia is one of the most vulnerable in the world to climate change with its low-lying coastal cities and extensive agriculture being at risk. Several countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). But the region has failed to reduce emissions by even one percent. Instead, individual countries have proclaimed their intentions, with no substance or follow through. ASEAN needs to take a radical new turn, and develop an ambitious, cohesive plan for lowering GHG gas emissions.

  • Extreme climate events, from floods to typhoons already affect the livelihoods and health of millions of people in ASEAN and cause substantial economic losses to business and governments, as a result of which the ASEAN needs more than an economic recovery plan; it needs an economic reset. It must develop its own New Green Deal, one that pays special attention to renewable energy, transportation and forests.

Read further …

Eco Business, 26 April 2021

Key Themes : SE Asia, Carbon Neutrality, Green Technology, Climate Change

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for investors as South-east Asia goes green

  • Governments across Asia have pledged ambitious carbon neutrality plans backed by massive stimulus to push for green and sustainable industries as the stakes are high with Asia having 15 of the world's 20 most vulnerable cities and crop yields could fall by 7 per cent to 25 per cent over the next 30 to 50 years. South-east Asia's governments are thus pledging big investment in green technology.

  • Some market developments to look out for are :

  • Sustainable Smart Cities : With cities being a key contributor to climate change, responsible for 75 per cent of carbon emission and transport and buildings being the largest emitters, smart-building solutions can unlock cost savings by adopting efficient energy usage. Also, the future of transport has to be electric.

  • Energy Transition : Resource extraction and energy generation are still very much coal-reliant and inefficient in the region and it is not realistic to suddenly replace fossil fuels with renewables. However, the transition to natural gas is one low-hanging fruit.

  • Sustainable Food Chains : Employing technology and localising production are key to feeding a growing and large urban population in a sustainable manner.

  • Reconfiguring supply chains : South-east Asia's manufacturing hub can become a viable alternative to China and supply chains can be reconfigured sustainably. As supply chains shift to this region, more robotics and automation will be employed to improve productivity and energy efficiency.

Read further …

Eco Business, 22 April 2021

Key Themes : Climate Impact, Net Zero Emissions, Climate Change

Which countries in Asia Pacific are doing most to protect the environment in 2021?

  • · Five countries in the Asia-Pacific that have made recent strides to safeguard nature, from curbing the illegal wildlife trade to stemming the tide of plastic waste are : China, Australia, Bhutan, Brunei and New Zealand, and below are some of their highlights :

  • China : announced a permanent ban on wildlife trade for human consumption.

  • Australia : where the country’s energy mix needs to change over the next 30 years “on the road to net zero emissions” with “the commercialisation of low emissions technology” which will help them to meet their target. Also, single-use plastics will be phased out by 2025, or sooner.

  • Bhutan : which boasts the largest proportion of forest cover in Asia, making a critical contribution to wildlife protection.

  • Brunei : where around 80 per cent of land lies under forest cover, and roughly 40 per cent of it remains untouched.

  • NewZealand : which in a world first announced it will make banks accountable for the climate impact of their investments. The government is also considering introducing a land reform bill which will overhaul a controversial regulatory system for land use

Read further …

The Straits Times, 19 April 2021

Key Themes : Marine Ecology, Climate Change

Which countries in Asia Pacific are doing most to protect the environment in 2021?