Negotiators in Bali are unlikely to get Asian developing countries to agree to binding greenhouse emissions targets for now in the post-Kyoto climate change agreement, a report released today by think tanks Civic Exchange and the Singapore Institute for International Affairs argues. The report, “Climate Change Negotiations: An Asian Stir Fry of Options”, calls upon negotiators to focus on aligning the interests of developing countries to achieve energy security and sustainable development through energy efficiency and a low-carbon future instead.
“Because of the hard-to-predict growth trajectories of developing countries in Asia, it is extremely difficult to estimate future carbon emissions and set meaningful targets”, said Christine Loh of the Civic Exchange, one of the report’s lead authors. “However, Asian developing countries are not exempt from responsibility. They must do their ‘homework’ on climate change adaptation and mitigation, and obligate themselves to take actions that can lead to emissions reduction”.
The report offers an ‘Asian Stir Fry of Options’ for how the future agreement can help developing countries build the national institutions and policy to effectively address the effects of climate change. This includes reforming the ‘Clean Development Mechanism’ to align sustainable development—a high priority in many Asian countries—with climate change reduction goals; setting up an international ‘Clearing House’ to help countries assess technology options; and focusing on adaptation measures.
Simon Tay of the SIIA elaborated, “Although we need to ask developing countries to increase their responsibility, this must be matched and exceeded by developed countries. They must contribute financing and expertise for technology transfer and increase their mandatory emissions targets. Asian countries take non-binding agreements seriously, and when they have reached the same level of preparedness as developed countries, they will certainly be ready to make greater commitments”.