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Asia needs bold action on climate change

Asia needs bold action on climate change

As the Asia-Pacific region confronts and recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, we must continue our pursuit of sustainable development and take action on global climate change, the existential challenge of our time.

Our region must take its place at the front lines of this effort. The region, which now accounts for 36 percent of global GDP, has made great progress in economic development and poverty reduction. But it is also responsible for around 80 percent of the world's coal consumption, and up to 60 percent of CO2 emissions. Many countries have experienced the devastating consequences of climate change: floods, droughts, heat waves, and storms.

Now is the time for bold action. We must commit wholeheartedly to fighting climate change, including meeting the emission-reduction goals under the Paris Agreement, all the while promoting economic growth and putting the region's development on a green path.

This will require major changes in the energy sector. These include: avoiding the use of fossil fuels and switching to low-carbon fuels, deploying more renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, reducing final energy demand, and incentivising investment in low-carbon technologies.

A broad commitment across the region, along with tailored, country-level support from development partners, will be needed to meet the goal of limiting global warming to no more than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

We need to get back on the path to low-carbon sustainable development. We have to balance climate mitigation and adaptation efforts. And we must ensure universal energy access, as more than 200 million people in the region still have no electricity.

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