Post COP26 conference in Glasgow in November 2021, governments, industries, investors and financial institutions are ramping up their climate action policies and green commitments. Financial institutions like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have taken various steps to work towards green and sustainable economic development and promote acceleration of energy transition activities. However, significant challenges related to uptake and affordable financing still remain especially in developing markets of Asia-Pacific. With this backdrop, the “2021 Asian Development Bank Institute Annual Conference: Climate Change Mitigation and Green Finance” was held in December 2021 where Masatsugu Asakawa, President, ADB gave a keynote address. REGlobal presents a lightly edited extract from his speech...
The theme of the 2021 ADBI Annual Conference is climate change mitigation and green finance. This is extremely timely and important. The conference aims to discuss how we can help Asia-Pacific lead the way in the fight against climate change, including our support for the next steps after COP26.
Asia-Pacific is one of the most vulnerable regions to the disruptive effects of climate change which continue to worsen. The climate crisis is putting people’s lives and livelihoods at greater risk and creating new uncertainties for the region’s economies.
We raised our ambition to provide 100 billion dollars in cumulative climate finance between 2019 and 2030.
At the same time, we must confront the uncomfortable truth that our region is a source of more than 50 per cent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. It is clear that bold and urgent action is needed to combat the great challenges we face.
For this, we must implement new and innovative policy solutions to ensure green, inclusive, and sustainable development.
Let me highlight how ADB is rising to the challenge. First, we have been stepping up our climate financing. We raised our ambition to provide 100 billion dollars in cumulative climate finance between 2019 and 2030.
Second, we have advised ADB’s energy policy to reflect our decision to formally withdraw from financing new coal-fired plants. Our new energy policy will support universal access to reliable and affordable energy services, while promoting low carbon transition in Asia and the Pacific.
Third, we have launched several initiatives at COP26 to catalyze climate action in the region using new and innovative approaches. In particular, the energy transition mechanism or ETM can be a game changer in solving one of the biggest challenges in our region, namely, how to retire existing coal-fired power plants. We plan to introduce ETM in the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.
We have launched several initiatives at COP26 to catalyze climate action in the region using new and innovative approaches.
Before I conclude, let me emphasize that the ADBI is playing a complementary role in these efforts to chart a fair and equitable path to net zero carbon emission economies while ensuring a strong and inclusive recovery. I am confident that ADBI’s evidence-based policy research, capacity building and training programs and outreach are responding to the urgent needs of many of our developing member countries.
Let me conclude by encouraging ADBI to continue its important work using this year’s conference as an opportunity to build on the momentum of COP26, the support of ADB and the ongoing efforts of our developing member countries. Your guidance on issues such as accelerating decarbonization, green finance and climate change policies are vital to the future of Asia and the Pacific and the world.