In the race to attain Net Zero goals, numerous challenges have decelerated progress. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crises have posed a major barrier to overall developments, causing disordering and upheaval in countless lives. Moreover, the crisis in Ukraine has further disrupted global supply chains and led to inflation. Despite encountering several speed bumps along the way, the imperative for climate action can no longer be postponed. In particular, Asia holds immense potential to become one of the frontrunners in this path. However, there are multiple hurdles it must first overcome to successfully seize the lead. As one of the world’s largest continents, Asia possesses both significant potential and intrinsic disadvantages that must be addressed.
Many countries in Asia and the Pacific lack adequate preparation in terms of financial resources to support the adoption and gathering of necessary data. These factors are vital for gaining a comprehensive understanding of the problems as well as formulating effective solutions. Compounded by the large and continuous growth of the population, this inertia will only lead to a proportional increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Asia remains one of the largest consumers of fossil fuels, with coal alone accounting for over 40% of its total energy supply, as reported by the International Energy Agency. Additionally, it is responsible for over 60% of the region’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. The share of manufacturing and construction activities in Asia’s greenhouse gas emissions is twice as high as the global average.
GETTING BACK ON TRACK
In order to bridge the gap that has emerged during turbulent times, it is critical to address several key areas. While there has been a spike in the uptake of renewable energy sources, the foundation of the sector still lacks security, and investment remains insufficient. To ensure a robust recovery, investments must be directed toward technological advancements, as well as the enhancement of supply and infrastructure. Committing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and upholding the principles of the Paris Agreement hence become GREAT steps toward achieving collective environmental goals. New methods of regional cooperation and policy-based initiatives are also two key actors that can help drive positive change.
Achieving the set objectives is not merely a sprint to the finish line but rather a marathon. In spite of the setbacks and obstacles along the path, it is crucial for Asia to bear in mind that fulfilling these goals remains within its reach. Through consistent investments and efficient measures to mitigate the current challenges, Asia can regain its strength and get back on track toward shaping a sustainable future.
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