Climate Change Policies in the Asia-Pacific: Re-Uniting Climate Change and Sustainable Development

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The historic development pathway of Europe and the US is clearly not sustainable in developing Asia, with its larger population, constrained by resource limitations, and now facing the global challenges of climate change. So far, however, Asia has not framed an alternative future that simultaneously provides for an escape from poverty, improves standards of living, and responds to the need for a low carbon, climate resilient sustainable development pathway. Asian countries need to become more involved in the global climate change negotiations, if only to ensure that sustainable development and climate change remain as a single pathway to development, not diverging tracks.

Four priorities were identified in the White Paper: (i) building a fair, effective, and flexible post-2012 climate regime; (ii) enhancing the region's adaptive capacity; (iii) utilising market mechanisms more effectively; and (iv) building a low carbon society and exploiting developmental co-benefits, of which the task of transforming Asia's social, industrial and economic infrastructure towards a low carbon society is the most daunting. Nevertheless, the climate change regime beyond 2012 can be designed to assist Asia in this transformation?encompassing market mechanisms that transfer financial resources into the world's most cost-effective climate change mitigation options and ensuring that future infrastructure investments are designed and implemented to enhance the adaptive capacity of Asia's population and ecosystems.

Cost-effective mitigation options that are intimately linked with sustainable development were detailed in the REDD proposals, and are potentially available in second generation biofuels using Asia's abundant organic waste, and in composting municipal solid waste. Protecting the region's groundwater resources, as a reserve or insurance for future climate variability that will impact on surface water resources already stretched to the limit, is just one example of the inevitable adaptation measures that must be integrated with sustainable development planning and implementation.

These far reaching mitigation and adaptation measures, however, will not happen unless Asia's multiple stakeholders - governments, the private sector, and civil society - stand together with a shared vision of a low carbon, climate resilient future for Asia and the Pacific.

[Table of Contents]

List of Authors / List of Tables, Figures, and Boxes / Abbreviations and Acronyms
Executive Summary

Part I
1. Introduction
2. Aligning Actions on Climate and Development: Asia at the Crossroads

Part II
3. Mitigation and Adaptation ? Sectors and Actors
4. Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries: Risks and Opportunities for Rural Communities in the Asia-Pacific Region
5. Prospects and Challenges of Biofuels in Asia: Policy Implications
6. Urban Organic Waste ? From Hazard to Resource
7. Groundwater and Climate Change: No Longer the Hidden Resource
8. Institutional Changes in Asia in Response to Climate Change
9. Responsible Business - Energy Efficiency Solutions

Part III
10. Conclusions and Recommendations


Japanese version is available at:

The first IGES white paper: Sustainable Asia 2005 and Beyond: In the pursuit of innovative policy (2006)