News Digest | 16-30 September

What the Asia-Pacific needs to leap forward on climate action

The Asia-Pacific region has advanced over the previous two years: China, Indonesia, Australia, and the majority of Southeast Asian nations have committed to transforming their economies to net zero by 2060. China has made significant investments in green energy. Deforestation has decreased in Indonesia, solar energy has increased dramatically in Vietnam, and Australia is aiming for more than 80% renewable electricity by 2030. Despite such an increase, climate money is still insufficient to support both adaptation and mitigation activities. In emerging and developing economies, the financial gap is growing as a result of differences in borrowing costs. With more effective collaboration, the Asia-Pacific region has enormous potential to speed up climate action. Through the ASEAN Power Grid initiative, more Southeast Asian nations will be connected to the grid, improving energy security, power purchase efficiency, and adoption of renewable energy sources. For the region to advance, information transfer and capability development must both increase. For example, the ASEAN Green Future project, a partnership between the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Climate Works Centre, and research organizations throughout Southeast Asia, has demonstrated that working together to develop and strengthen low-carbon value chains can quickly transform Southeast Asia into a hub for low-carbon trade. The different economic environments and political contexts of the Asia-Pacific can influence adaptation tactics, resilience-building initiatives, and emission-reduction measures.

Climate inaction puts lives on the line: WMO

WMO predicts that present policies will result in global warming of at least 2.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels over the course of this century, which is significantly higher than the 1.5-degree target set forth in the Paris Agreement. The United in research report, which draws on the expertise of 18 UN agencies and partners, demonstrates how climate research and early warnings may save lives and livelihoods, enhance food and water security, clean energy, and better health. Following recent flooding in Libya that resulted in hundreds of fatalities, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas emphasized that a country’s inability to predict catastrophic weather occurrences might have fatal repercussions for it. The UN predicts that approximately 670 million people may experience food insecurity in 2030, and extreme weather events are a major contributor to the rise of global hunger. The new research aims to inform immediate action on this front. By enabling people to foresee disasters and “limit the economic impact,” early warning systems can also aid in the reduction of poverty. The WMO has also emphasized the significance of the UN’s “Early Warnings for All” initiative, which aims to protect “everyone on Earth from hazardous weather, water, or climate events through life-saving early warning systems by the end of 2027.” 

Tourism goes green: Investing in sustainable tourism and integrated island waste management in Malaysia

One of Malaysia’s main economic sectors, tourism generated US$18.32 billion in income in 2019, making up 6.7% of the country’s GDP. However, the COVID-19 epidemic and ensuing travel restrictions led to a 72% decrease in tourism’s direct contribution to Malaysia’s GDP in 2020. An estimated 100,000 workers in the sector were laid off, and others received salary reductions or unpaid leaves of absence. The whole value chain has been impacted by COVID-19’s significant effects on the tourism industry. With the relaxation of travel restrictions, Malaysia welcomed more than 5.5 million visitors in the first nine months of 2022, an increase of more than 7,000% from 2021. In Malaysia, the tourism sector is utilizing the chance to change to a more resilient and sustainable model that is supported by well-protected and conserved natural resources that are unpolluted and undamaged. In collaboration with the Malaysian Ministries of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, and Finance, UNDP Malaysia launched the Integrated Island Waste Management in Malaysia project and the Sustainable Tourism Recovery project to jointly address the issues of sustainable tourism and island waste management.

225 Million Displacements in Asia and Pacific Due to Disasters, As Impact of Climate Change Deepens, Says New ADB Report

According to a report released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), more than 225 million people worldwide were displaced as a result of disasters brought on by natural hazards between 2010 and 2021, with more than three-quarters of those occurring in Asia and the Pacific. According to the report Disaster Displacement in Asia and the Pacific: A Business Case for Investment in Prevention and Solutions, South Asia was closely followed by East Asia and Southeast Asia in terms of the total number of disaster displacements, accounting for approximately two-thirds of all disaster displacements in Asia and the Pacific. In terms of population size, the Pacific is said to have the highest danger of relocation. The paper analyses how climate change affects people who are displaced by disasters, emphasising that these consequences are already evident and that they are expected to worsen as hazards vary in frequency and intensity and have an influence on food insecurity and water scarcity. It also examines the social and economic effects and the measures being done to reduce disaster-related displacement and better prepare for it. It examines how disaster displacement disproportionately affects vulnerable groups including women, children, and the elderly. It also examines the effects of floods, storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic activity on each subregion in Asia and the Pacific.


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