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Report urges intensified efforts to cut carbon emission in Southeast Asia

A new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report raised urgency for fast-tracking Southeast Asia’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction, warning limited impacts of climate change arising from these discharges can reach some 11 percent of this region’s Gross Domestic Product by 2100.

Launched Monday (Jan. 11) in Metro Manila, the report ‘Southeast Asia and the Economics of Global Climate Stabilization’ highlights need to mitigate GHGs as it cites the region as among areas most vulnerable to climate change due to geographic, demographic, economic, and other conditions prevailing there.

GREENHOUSE GAS  Southeast Asia registered the fastest relative growth in emission of carbon dioxide. Photo courtesy of passion-africa.com

GREENHOUSE GAS Southeast Asia registered the fastest relative growth in emission of carbon dioxide. Photo courtesy of passion-africa.com

The report also said Southeast Asia registered — at nearly five percent annually between 1990 and 2010 — the fastest relative growth in emission of carbon dioxide, one of the climate change-driving GHGs.

“It finds that mitigation is in the region’s economic interest,” ADB Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development vice president Bambang Susantono said at the report’s launch.

He noted adapting energy efficient (EE) measures and addressing deforestation are among mitigation activities for significantly reducing Southeast Asia’s GHG emissions.

“EE is the largest source of potential emission reduction while addressing deforestation is critical to mitigation especially in the medium-term,” he said.

According to experts, GHG emissions accumulate in the atmosphere and trap heat so global temperature rises, resulting in climate change.

Increasing onslaught of extreme weather events as well as sea level and temperature rise are climate change’s impacts on the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries, they said.

Last year’s climate agreement in Paris targets stabilizing climate by keeping global temperature rise below 2OC.

To help achieve such target, ADB Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Division Dir. Preety Bhandari said the bank will double its climate financing to $6 billion by 2020.

She noted $4 billion of such financing will be for mitigation.

Some $2 billion will be for adaptation so countries can better cope with climate change, she also said.

“We stand ready to assist,” she assured at the launch.

The report is an output of ADB’s five-year technical assistance project “Strengthening Planning Capacity for Low-Carbon Growth in Developing Asi” which UK and Japan governments co-financed.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines are countries covered in the report.

“Emissions growth would need to fall substantially under a contraction and convergence framework” which has national shares of global emissions “transition from business as usual (BAU) in 2020 to an equal per capita basis by 2050,” the report said.

Achieving a 500 parts per million (ppm) climate stabilization target under such framework requires regional emission reduction of over 60 percent from BAU to a level some 30 percent below 2010 emissions by 2050, the report noted.

“Even a 650 ppm scenario requires that 2050 emissions need to be slightly below 2010 levels,” continued the report.

The report warned delaying climate action can increase climate stabilization cost — even possibly by about 60 percent as one model suggested.

Adapting low-carbon technologies are among the measures essential to reducing carbon emissions, the report said further.