In the face of climate change, is it time to re-examine the way we do development in Asia?
For years, many developing countries have believed it can be only one or the other – economic growth or reducing carbon emissions.
But a new report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says it’s possible for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to do both.
“High human development usually means high emissions, but there are ways to do things differently,” says Anuradha Rajivan, lead author of the report.
Everyone agrees that Asia-Pacific – which accounts for one-third of the world’s greenhouse gases and is home to two-thirds of the world’s poor – needs more economic growth if it is to lift millions of its people out of poverty.
But Asia must also do its part to address climate change, not only by adapting and preparing for extreme weather events, but also by reducing its carbon footprint, experts say.
“The world’s common future will be hugely affected by the choices that are made in Asia and the Pacific on a low-carbon growth path,” says Ajay Chhibber, UNDP’s director for Asia and the Pacific.
“The goal is clear, reduce poverty, increase prosperity, but leave a smaller carbon footprint.”