Four decarbonization strategies that can help to mitigate climate change in Asia

Yuito Yamada, partner based in our Tokyo office and co-author of Future of Asia, describes the four main decarbonization opportunities that Asian leaders can undertake to mitigate climate change, and how Asian organizations can tap on developing infrastructure to lead the global response to climate risk.

What decarbonization strategies can Asian leaders undertake to mitigate climate change?

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Adaptation is critical to address impacts of climate change that are inevitable, but it is not sufficient to prevent the build-up of climate risk. Until net zero emissions are reached, this risk would continue to accumulate and Asia has a key role to play in global mitigation. Its share of global greenhouse gas emission has grown from 45 percent in the past 30 years up from 25 percent.

We’ve identified four major decarbonization opportunities in Asia. The first being the shift from coal powered energy to renewables. Asia’s power sector emits over 20 percent of regional greenhouse gas emissions and around 90 percent of Asian power emissions come from coal.

Around half of global power investment by 2040 will be in Asia, putting the region in a unique position to lead mitigation efforts in the energy sector.

Secondly, the industrial sectors, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Asia, accounted for 37 percent of the region’s annual emissions. Steel and cement are the two highest emitting sectors accounting for around 70 percent of the total industrial emissions in 2016 in Asia.

Thirdly, retrofitting agriculture and reforming the forestry. Agriculture and deforestation through burning and clearing account for 10 percent of CO2 emissions in Asia, and 40 percent of the methane emissions. Agriculture in Asia accounts for almost 20 percent of the global methane emissions which needs to be tackled both by supply and demand and of the sector.

And finally electrifying and decarbonizing road transport in buildings are also important. Asia accounts for more than 30 percent of global GHG emissions from transport and buildings. However, the region has technological resource, whether it’s electric vehicles or fuel cell vehicles, in order to tackle this.

Asia has the resources and capabilities to cut emissions and decisive action could help lead the world to go forward to a more sustainable future.

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