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Climate change pushing Asia towards doom

Energy risk

A warmer climate could also endanger energy supply in Asia. Climate change can exacerbate energy insecurity through continued reliance on unsustainable fossil fuels, reduced capacities of thermal power plants due to a scarcity of cooling water, and intermittent performance of hydropower plants due uncertain water discharges, among other factors. Energy insecurity could lead to conflicts as countries compete for limited energy supply.

Minimising impact

To mitigate the impact of climate change, the report highlights the importance of implementing the commitments laid out in the Paris Agreement. These include public and private investments focused on the rapid decarbonisation of the Asian economy as well as the implementation of adaptation measures to protect the region’s most vulnerable populations.

Climate mitigation and adaptation efforts should also be mainstreamed into macro-level regional development strategies and micro-level project planning in all sectors, in addition to the ongoing renewable energy and technology innovation efforts in urban infrastructure and transport. The region has both the capacity and influence to move towards sustainable development pathways, curb global emissions, and promote adaptation, the report concludes.

At the launch of the report, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute, said, “The Asian countries hold Earth’s future in their hands. If they choose to protect themselves against dangerous climate change, they will help to save the entire planet. The challenge is twofold. On the one hand, Asian greenhouse-gas emissions have to be reduced in a way that the global community can limit planetary warming to well below two degrees Celsius, as agreed in Paris 2015. Yet even adapting to 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature rise is a major task. So, on the other hand, Asian countries have to find strategies for ensuring prosperity and security under unavoidable climate change within a healthy global development.”

Looking at the bright side, Schellnhuber added, “Leading the clean industrial revolution will provide Asia with unprecedented economic opportunities. And exploring the best strategies to absorb the shocks of environmental change will make Asia a crucial actor in 21st-century multilateralism.”

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Photo credits: After flood, spiders hide in trees and encapsulate them in webs, Pakistan | DFID UK/ [CC BY 2.0]

Farmer works on dried rice fields in Bogor Regency, Indonesia | Danumurthi Mahendra/ [CC BY 2.0]