Asia-Pacific’s climate change challenge: Can it become cleaner and greener? - Hindustan Times
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Asia-Pacific’s climate change challenge: Can it become cleaner and greener?

ByHindustan Times
Jun 06, 2023 03:16 PM IST

This article is authored by Ananya Raj Kakoti and Gunwant Singh, scholars of international relations, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The Asia Pacific region is experiencing a temperature rise that is causing significant environmental and social impacts. Simultaneously, domestic pollution aggravates the situation, posing severe risks to both human well-being and the environment. These issues are becoming increasingly urgent, and there is a growing need for immediate action to mitigate their effects. The increasing temperatures and domestic pollution stem from various factors, such as greenhouse gas emissions from human activities such as energy production, transportation, and deforestation, including poor waste management practices, inefficient energy use, and unsustainable agricultural practices.

Climate change(Representational photo / Creative Commons)
Climate change(Representational photo / Creative Commons)

The combination of soaring temperatures and domestic pollution can lead to serious health consequences, including respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, and heat-related illnesses. This is especially concerning for vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, children, and low-income communities. It can have a significant impact on the economy of the Asia Pacific region as well. This includes reduced productivity due to health-related issues, heat damage to infrastructure and property, and increased healthcare costs. Crop yields can be affected by changes in temperature and rainfall patterns, leading to food shortages and price increases. The unequal distribution of pollution can result in marginalised communities bearing a disproportionate burden of health consequences.

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Efforts to combat climate change in the Asia Pacific region include substantial investments in renewable energy infrastructure like solar and wind farms. Carbon pricing mechanisms have been put in place to incentivise emissions reduction. Policies and initiatives are being implemented to enhance energy efficiency, including the improvement of building codes, promotion of energy-efficient appliances, and establishment of efficient transportation systems. Forest conservation and restoration are prioritised, with measures to curtail deforestation and encourage reforestation. Several countries in the Asia Pacific, such as Indonesia and Vietnam, have introduced policies to foster sustainable agricultural practices, such as reducing the usage of pesticides and fertilisers, as well as promoting sustainable land management. Furthermore, numerous organisations in the region, including banks and financial institutions, now provide green financing options to encourage investments in sustainable projects and technologies.

However, there are challenges and limitations in the current efforts in the Asia Pacific region. Resource constraints hinder the implementation of large-scale climate mitigation and adaptation measures. Political barriers and a lack of will impede effective action. Limited public awareness and education impair support for necessary policies. Economic considerations and the affordability of fossil fuels present obstacles. Cooperation and collaboration among countries may be hindered. Technological solutions and data availability are limited, hampering decision-making. Rapid urbanisation increases energy consumption and vulnerability. Climate change exacerbates natural disasters, leading to environmental and social consequences. Insufficient focus on adaptation measures is observed. Non-ratification of international agreements hampers global effectiveness.

Despite the current efforts to mitigate climate change and domestic pollution in the Asia Pacific region, additional actions are necessary to address the escalating temperature and its repercussions. Here are some recommendations for further action:

1. Raise public awareness through education campaigns, forums, and social media initiatives to foster individual and community engagement.

2. Strengthen existing policies and implement new regulations to tackle rising temperatures and domestic pollution, such as enforcing stricter emissions standards and increasing support for renewable energy and sustainable transportation.

3. Promote global cooperation among countries in the region to share best practices, exchange technologies, and collaborate on research and development.

4. Invest in research and development to drive the innovation of new technologies and solutions for climate change mitigation and domestic pollution reduction, including green technology, sustainable agriculture, and climate modelling.

5. Adopt sustainable urban planning practices in cities, such as green roofs and walls, to mitigate the urban heat island effect. Investing in green infrastructure, such as green energy grids, sustainable transport networks, and eco-friendly buildings, to reduce carbon emissions and resource consumption.

6. Increase investment in carbon capture and storage technologies.

7. Support sustainable agriculture practices like agroforestry, conservation agriculture, and sustainable irrigation methods to reduce emissions and sequester carbon.

8. Encourage sustainable practices in the tourism industry, such as promoting low-carbon transportation options, supporting eco-friendly accommodations, and fostering eco-tourism initiatives.

9. Implement stronger waste management systems and promote recycling and waste reduction practices to minimise the release of pollutants and greenhouse gases.

10. Enhance the resilience of vulnerable communities to climate change impacts through adaptation measures, including infrastructure upgrades, early warning systems, and disaster preparedness programs.

11. Encourage private sector involvement through incentives and partnerships to promote sustainable business practices and investments in clean technologies.

These recommendations cover a range of areas, from policy and regulation to public awareness, technology development, and sustainable practices, and can contribute to comprehensive efforts in addressing the challenges of rising temperatures and domestic pollution in the Asia Pacific region.

In conclusion, addressing the challenges of soaring temperature and domestic pollution in the Asia Pacific region necessitates immediate action and a collaborative effort involving governments, the private sector, and individuals. By promoting sustainable agriculture practices, adopting green building measures, minimising food waste, investing in climate research, and fostering sustainable tourism, we can strive towards a more sustainable and resilient future for both the region and the global community.

This article is authored by Ananya Raj Kakoti and Gunwant Singh, scholars of international relations, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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