A New Research Network for Low Carbon Asia

May 2013

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is considering a new international framework in which all GHG emitter countries will participate post 2020. In order to stabilise the entire global climate, developed countries must drastically reduce their GHG emissions, but it is predicted that there will be an increase in future emissions from developing countries and it is vital to deal with this situation. Most importantly, Asia is seeing remarkable growth, and it is forecast that if this growth continues to follow a mass energy consumption pattern, then by 2050, half of all GHG emissions will be from Asia. There is concern that this will have a severe impact on the people of the region. On the other hand, if current strong investments can be steered towards the creation of a low-carbon society, then it is possible that Asia can lead the world in low-carbon development. Right now, we are standing at a crossroads.

In keeping with trends in international discussions, the countries of Asia continue to make steady progress in developing low-carbon plans and strategies based on a green economy. The Low Carbon Asia Research Network: LoCARNet, for which IGES is the secretariat, supports development planning and strategy building by researchers and research institutes in various Asian countries, in cooperation with the National Institute for Environmental Studies and Kyoto University. By setting up opportunities where researchers and policymakers can engage in discussion, each country can show how it is quantitatively reducing GHG, and take planned actions so that even more effective policy-making for low-carbon development can be achieved. In addition, because countries in the region share a common economic stage and geographic location, researchers in each country can gather their research results, carry out "knowledge sharing" and actively promote a system of mutual learning (in a way to facilitate south-south cooperation).

So, since COP16, financial support to developing countries for GHG reduction has been decided, and to apply funding to climate stabilisation policies effectively, it has become popular for both developed and developing countries to come together in "knowledge sharing" and engage in mutual learning activities. Further, a quarter of a century has now passed since the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and now that scientists have revealed the extent of global warming and the damage it has caused, it is time to put emphasis on measures and actions on how to reduce GHG emissions and find ways to adapt to the changes. This course of action can be explained in various ways; for example, local authorities can share their good practices with other cities, and activities can be made to collaborate in practical ways with a wide range of stakeholders including the business sector and civil society.

The function of LoCARNet is to serve in its function as a researchers' collective, to gather and analyse best practices, and bring together individual stakeholders through knowledge sharing.

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