Climate Change and Air Pollution

In Sixth ASEAN State of the Environment Report
Chapter: 3
Report Chapter
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• Climate change is already causing serious negative impacts in the region. In the future, extreme
weather and sea level rise will cause mounting economic costs in terms of damage to health,
infrastructure, and food security.
• ASEAN Member States (AMS) have a variety of policies and responses to climate change
adaptation and disaster risk reduction, including international and regional cooperation. The
region has made rapid progress in recognizing and addressing the climate change and disaster
nexus, and the adaptation and mitigation nexus but more needs to be done. These responses
should be further strengthened, including with additional financing.
• AMS should finish developing national and sub-national adaptation plans and then implement
them. This will enable countries to streamline efforts and achieve synergistic responses that
help to achieve multiple developmental goals. This calls for transformative changes in addition
to incremental changes.
• Emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and key air pollutants have continued to rise in
ASEAN, and decoupling economic growth from them is an immense challenge.
• High levels of air pollution pose a substantial threat to the health and well-being of the 660
million people living in the AMS. Many air pollution sources also contribute to near- and longterm
climate change.
• The main sources of air pollution and GHGs in AMS are similar: fossil-fuel energy, road
transport, industry, construction, residential energy, waste management, agriculture,
deforestation, and forest/land use fires.
• Many policies and measures simultaneously reduce emissions of both air pollutants and GHGs,
delivering multiple benefits or co-benefits. Pursuing co-benefits is cost effective way to save
money and lives while also mitigating climate change.
• Key responses to climate change and air pollution include replacement of outdated polluting
industrial technologies, stronger emissions standards and their enforcement for stationary
and mobile sources, acceleration of the transition to renewable energy, and improved energy
• The ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2016–2025 set a regional target
of 32% reduction in energy intensity by 2025 relative to 2005 levels, and a 23% share for
renewable energy share in the total primary energy supply by 2025. The energy intensity target
is on track but the renewable energy target is not.
• Strengthened monitoring, modelling and research capacity on climate change and air pollution
are also needed.
• Since most drivers and pressures are common for both climate change and air pollution,
synergistic actions are needed that also promote sustainable development goals (SDGs).
• Transboundary cooperation fostered by the ASOEN working groups and other ASEAN bodies is
needed to address climate change and improve air quality. Cooperation could focus on creating
a regional renewable energy market including accelerating plans for the ASEAN power grid,
harmonizing air quality standards and climate targets, (as well as their enforcement, as weak
policy responses and enforcement in one country can have significant impacts in other AMS).
• Overall, transformative change (“shifting development pathways” according to the IPCC AR6) is
needed in the face of such huge challenges, and incremental efforts and isolated approaches are not
sufficient. AMS should strengthen their ambition for both mitigation and adaptation, and enhance their
enhance their nationally determined contributions (NDCs), considering carbon pricing as a key tool.