Countries in Asia and the Pacific are facing the worsening impacts of frequent and intense weather events caused by climate change.
The region is home to almost half of the world’s population, seven of its ten largest cities, and five of its largest economies.
The astounding growth in the region’s economy, urbanisation, and resource demands are putting massive pressure on the environment, freshwater, and ocean habitats.
The damage to the environment and ecosystems reduces its capacity to capture and store carbon and, in some cases, releases the carbon stored and accelerates climate change.
UNEP’s Emission Gap Report 2022 raises the alarm in climate action, and the report laments that climate pledges are highly insufficient to meet the Paris Goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C. Still, it puts us on track for a temperature rise of 2.4-2.6°C.
This temperature rise means that the earth will be struck regularly by deadly heat, fires, floods and drought in future decades and will degrade in hundreds of ways, with some being potentially irreversible.
The IPCC AR6 says that temperature rise will make the world sicker, hungrier, poorer, gloomier and way more dangerous in the next two decades with an unavoidable increase in risks.
According to the Asian Development Bank, Asia and the Pacific is at the frontline in the battle against climate change. It presents the following information about the region:
- The region is currently responsible for over 50% of global GHG emissions. And emissions will increase due to its growing demands for energy generated by coal, oil, and gas.
- It will be responsible for over 80% of the global demand for coal to meet its growing energy needs.
- The region faces the destructive effects of climate change from extreme weather conditions, prolonged droughts, and severe urban flooding, which has already affected 5.6 billion people between 1991 and 2020.
- Over 60% of Asia and the Pacific’s population work in sectors most at risk from climate change impacts.
- Sixty-four million Asians will be pushed into poverty for every 10% rise in food prices due to climate change.
- Limiting GHG emissions will be vital in decreasing climate-related risks in the region.
COP27’s significance to the Asia Pacific
In this year’s climate change summit, world leaders discuss actions to tackle climate change following a year of climate-related disasters and record-breaking temperatures.
The ADB notes that “COP27 comes at a critical juncture as Asia and the Pacific deal with the impacts of increasingly frequent and intense weather events caused by climate change.”
Decisions and breakthroughs achieved at this year’s COP are particularly critical. Pakistan is still reeling from its worst flooding in living memory. China was hit by extreme droughts that have dried out its lakes and rivers.
Strong typhoons in the Philippines have affected its poor and most vulnerable people, and the impacts from these weather events will only continue to get worst.
Ahead of this year’s climate change summit, ADB and other international financial institutions (IFI) launched a video to show examples of climate change adaptation solutions that, when implemented at scale, can build the region’s resilience to climate change.
The Asian Development Bank also adopted a new operating model to increase its capacity to meet the Asia and Pacific climate financing and funding needs.
Dubbed the region’s climate bank, the model will “strengthen its work to develop the private sector and mobilise private investments in the region; provide a larger range of high-quality development solutions for its developing member countries; and modernise ways of working to make it more responsive, agile, and closer to clients.”
Inadequate progress on climate action makes rapid transformation of societies only option – UNEP. (2022, October 27). UNEP. Retrieved from https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/press-release/inadequate-progress-climate-action-makes-rapid-transformation
ADB and IFI Partners Launch Climate Finance Video Campaign Ahead of COP27. (2022 November 2). ADB. Retrieved from https://www.adb.org/news/adb-and-ifi-partners-launch-climate-finance-video-campaign-ahead-cop27
Asia and the Pacific’s Climate Bank. (2022). ADB. Retrieved from https://www.adb.org/climatebank
ADB Adopts New Operating Model to Meet Rapidly Changing Needs of Asia and the Pacific. (2022, October 31). ADB. Retrieved from https://www.adb.org/news/adb-adopts-new-operating-model-meet-rapidly-changing-needs-asia-and-pacific
FEATURED COMPOSITE IMAGE CREDIT:
- COP27 photo – https://unfccc.int/cop27/photos
- Mangrove plantation by USAID U.S. Agency for International Development – FrontLines/EGAT 2011 Environment Photo Contest Top Entry, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54737538