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ESCAP Seeks Climate Action in Asia

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According to the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and its report “The Race to Zero: Accelerating Climate Action in Asia and the Pacific,” the need to enhance climate action is apparent in Asia and the Pacific. Over the past sixty years, warming in the region has exceeded the global mean.

The increased variability of weather, rising temperatures, and frequent and intense disasters have led to the loss of life, displaced communities, and adversely affected people’s health.

Under all forecast scenarios, the region will remain the most affected by heavy rainfall, drought, heat waves, and intensifying tropical cyclones.

The environmental impacts of climate change in Asia and the Pacific are alarming. Over the past In 40 years, significant mass losses have been recorded in five glaciers in the High-Mountain region in East and North-East Asia and South Asia. This trend has accelerated in the twenty-first century.

According to ESCAP, estimates of annual average losses resulting from natural and biological hazards in Asia and the Pacific are approximately $780 billion. Under a moderate climate change scenario, these losses are expected to increase to $1.1 trillion, and under the worst-case scenario to $1.4 trillion.

In 2021 alone, more than 100 natural hazards – floods, tropical cyclones, heatwaves, and droughts – killed 4,000 people and disrupted the lives of 48.3 million people in Asia. The cost of the damage was estimated at $35.6 billion. Compared to the past 20-year average for economic losses caused by disasters in Asia, in 2021, economic damage from drought increased by 63%, from flooding by 23%, and from landslides by 147%.

The major sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the Asia-Pacific region are electricity and heating, manufacturing and construction, and transportation. Electricity and heating account for the bulk of energy emissions, 38% of the total. This is higher than emissions from electricity and heating in the rest of the world.

The share of emissions from manufacturing and construction in the region is double that of the rest of the world. Heavy industries, such as
steel and cement production, account for more than 50% of all industrial emissions globally, and 70% of global steel production is taking place in Asia.

The full study is available HERE.

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