Updated: Apr 29, 2021
Compiled and curated by Purnima Joshi
The week that went by witnessed United States President Joe Biden reclaiming global leadership on the climate crisis, kicking off the two-day virtual Earth Day Summit with a pledge to halve US emissions by the end of the decade. The new US commitment, announced by the White House on Earth Day (April 22), promised to slash the nation’s carbon emissions by at least 50 percent by 2030 based on 2005 levels, thus setting an aggressive goal and tone for a summit that gathered leaders of around 40 nations. The theme for Earth Day this year is ‘Restore the Earth’. The above aggressive goal set the tone for a summit that gathers leaders from some 40 nations and other highlights can be viewed here
Eco Business, 15 April 2021
Key Themes : Ecology, Climate Change
Could China adopt more ‘trees-to-power’ technology?
BECCS, or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, is a possible route to carbon neutrality. It involves growing trees (an area where China has achieved great success), capturing carbon from the atmosphere and burning the wood to generate power, while capturing the CO2 released during combustion for storage underground.
Both parts of BECCS – bioenergy (BE) and carbon capture and storage (CCS) – are essential. But owing to costs involved, China has restricted trials in CCS technologies mostly to carbon capture, utilisation and storage projects, or CCUS, hoping that cash flows from the utilisation component can help cover part of the costs of operating the technology.
Estimated overall CCS costs in China’s coal chemical industry could come close to zero, if the CO2 captured was sold to oil firms at around 100 yuan. Existing enhanced oil recovery systems don’t seem profitable, since based on a 500,000-ton project in a Jilin oil field, profitability would require oil prices at $90 per barrel, a minimum 10 per cent bump in extraction rates and a stable supply of CO2.
South China Morning Post, 14 April 2021
Key Themes: Leadership, Climate Change
Climate change: China, Japan and South Korea must work together to end coal use and funding
An opinion piece by Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, urging the three countries to get together to take bold, urgent action to secure healthy air for all citizens and future generations by cutting emissions and ending the use and financing of fossil fuels across East Asia, particularly coal.
Pursuing net zero emissions will help create jobs, with 63% of the global jobs in renewable energy being in Asia – economic stability and cleaner air we urgently need to thrive and bolster resilience to future shocks and effects of climate change.
Japan, China and South Korea can strengthen their own economies, as well as those throughout Asia and beyond, by accelerating the shift from fossil fuels to net zero-carbon infrastructure and technology. In Japan, there is a growing coalition of businesses, local governments and civil society impatient to go further, faster while South Korea’s green new deal signals a society-wide move towards a carbon-free future and China’s ambitious decarbonisation pledge should spur it to step away from Coal.
reliefweb.int 19 April 2021
Key Themes : Children, Climate Change
Climate Crisis - 710 million children live in countries at high risk
An estimated 710 million children live in the 45 countries that are at the highest risk of suffering the impact of climate change and its various consequences like food shortages, diseases and other health threats, water scarcity, or be at risk from rising water levels
While all children are impacted by climate change, those living in poverty, conflict or hunger, or in disaster prone areas, will suffer most as they often are already deprived of their basic needs.
‘Save the Children’ opined that children have contributed the least to the crisis but will pay the highest price, and urged all governments to take immediate and drastic action to address climate injustice head on, and avoid further catastrophic impacts on children and their families.
Channel News Asia Insider, 19 April 2021
Key Theme: Energy, Climate Change
India may build new coal plants due to low cost despite climate change
Despite increasing calls from environmentalists to deter use of coal, India may build new coal-fired power plants as they generate the cheapest power. Coal accounts for nearly 75% of India’s annual power output and its contribution to electricity generation in India fell for the second straight year in 2020, which was quite a departure from decades of growth in coal-fired power.
Solar and wind energy prices, which would help the world's third-largest greenhouse gas emitter cut emission, have witnessed massive reductions in prices.
According to the National Electricity Policy while India is committed to add more capacity through non-fossil sources of generation, coal-based generation capacity may still be required to be added in the country as it continues to be the cheapest source of generation and all future coal-based plants should only deploy so-called "ultra super critical" less polluting technologies "or other more efficient technology".
The National News, 23 April 2021
Key Theme : Renewable Energy, Global Warming
Asia-Pacific’s solarized digitization agenda
Asia-Pacific accounts for 60% of the global population and comprises some of the world’s fastest rising economies supported by technological/cryptocurrency innovation that is highly energy intensive, resulting in a high growth of electricity generation, led by fossil fuels.
Three of the six largest carbon dioxide-emitting countries which account for half of the world’s carbon dioxide – China, India, and Japan – are located in Asia-Pacific.
The energy sector is the world’s number one pollutant, accounting for over 30% of global GHG emissions. With energy demands continually increasing, pushing CO2 emissions to their highest levels in history, methods of generating large quantities of clean energy have become a survival concern for the Asia-Pacific region.
The region has shifted its focus to decarbonization of the grid and production of electricity from renewable energy, with new renewable power plant contracts announced in the region in just the last month, 51% these plants being solar.
In the region, China leads the world as the top producer of solar energy, with Japan ranking second, India third, followed by South Korea. These four countries are also conducting research on space-based solar power and power beaming as a solution to the region’s transition towards carbon neutrality, with Japan and China emerging as international leaders in this area.
Economic Times, 23 April 2021
Key Themes : Energy, Climate Change
India needs $401 bn capex to fight climate change: Report
Analysts are keenly watching whether India raises its pollution curtailment targets or signals a 'net carbon neutrality' deadline since the country is set to exceed most of the 2015 Paris Agreement targets. However, it needs over USD 400 billion in capital investment which could save over 1.1 billion tonne of greenhouse gases between 2015 and 2030.
India is expected to step up its emission curtailment targets by 2047 and announce the same at the summit hosted by US President Joe Biden. Several large global economies have committed to be carbon neutral by 2050; and China has set a 2060 target.
Achieving 25 per cent ethanol blending by 2025 could be a challenge for India and another one faced could be on the green hydrogen drive, which would require fertilizers, steel and petrochemicals industries to shift to green hydrogen.
On the renewable energy front India appears well ahead of some of the commitments made.
Plans to blend hydrogen with CNG and leverage the CNG pipeline infra to reduce hydrogen transportation costs and a pilot project with 50 buses running on hydrogen-CNG fuel are currently underway.
Channel News Asia Insider, 22 April 2021
Key Themes : Economy, Climate Change
Investments to tackle climate crisis make ‘very good economic sense’: COP26 president
Analysis has shown that a shift to renewable energies can create more jobs than the use of fossil fuels, while every dollar invested in climate adaptation can result in up to US$10 of economic benefit.
Economic strength can go hand in hand with driving down emissions, as has been reflected by the United Kingdom which over the past 30 years, has managed to grow its economy by 75 per cent, whilst reducing emissions by 43 per cent.
Philippines Tatler, 22 April 2021
Key Themes : Ecosystem, Climate Change
Earth Day 2021: All About Google Timelapse—Proof Climate Change Is Real and It's Happening Fast
Google Earth's new timelapse feature is momentous, with a free and accurate depiction of earth's forests, waters, glaciers and the likes.
Being a zoomable video containing over 15 million images, it allows anyone to see gradual changes that have occurred in different parts of the globe since 1984.
In order to show the real and alarming effects of climate change, Google partnered with Carnegie Mellon University CREATE Lab to show the delicateness of the ecosystem.
ASEAN Today, 13 April 2021
Key Themes : Leadership, Climate Change
New US administration bringing ‘good dynamics’ to the fight against climate change: Grace Fu
President Biden led the US to officially rejoin the Paris climate agreement and hold a virtual climate summit involving 40 world leaders. A recent meeting between US climate envoy John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua, also produced a joint agreement, which was a good sign.
When it comes to climate change, developed countries need to consider looking at the commitments they have put on the table about financing developing countries. For instance, Singapore has a Climate Action Package, which offers countries in the region with training programmes on climate science, adaptation measures and others.
There are several areas that countries are exploring, such as opportunities in sustainable products like electric vehicles and wind turbines. Other areas include countries investing differently to ensure that their infrastructure is environmentally friendly and hence future-proof.
CGTN, 20 April 2021
Key Themes : Economy, Climate Change
PBOC: China to promptly assess climate change impact on financial stability
The governor of the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said the central bank will assess the impact of climate change on financial stability and monetary policy.
The central bank will give incentives to financial institutions to support low carbon transitions and unveil new tools to boost financing for carbon emission reductions. Financial institutions in China are currently required to disclose the green financial bonds issued in the inter-bank market and report on the use and direction of green credit.
It is also proposed to introduce a set of unified classification standards for the reference of international investors and promoting the coordinated development of international green funds.
The Straits Times, 21 April 2021
Key Themes : Banking, Human Resource, Climate Change
Australia's top banks step up hiring in green finance push
Even though finding the right talent with skillsets that combine banking experience with knowledge of environmental, social and governance issues is a struggle, Australia's biggest banks are expanding their sustainable finance teams.
As the asset class grows and evolves, demand for sustainability-linked bonds is likely to soar. Investors ask tougher questions as they consider buying into the ever-increasing supply of ESG-linked debt, wanting to know what projects are being financed, how the metrics will be measured and whether there is any social impact.
At the same time, even as some of the biggest markets - China, Japan and South Korea - express increased ambition to combat climate change, Australia is generally being considered a laggard in this respect and with pressure mounting on his coal-industry backing government to commit to a hard target for net-zero emissions.
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.