Climate change policies in the Asia-Pacific: re-uniting climate change and sustainable development

The historic development pathway of Europe and the US is clearly not sustainable in developing Asia, with its larger population, constrained by resource limitations, and now facing the global challenges of climate change. So far, however, Asia has not framed an alternative future that simultaneously provides for an escape from poverty, improves standards of living, and responds to the need for a low carbon, climate resilient sustainable development pathway. Asian countries need to become more involved in the global climate change negotiations, if only to ensure that sustainable development and climate change remain as a single pathway to development, not diverging tracks. Four priorities were identified in this white paper: building a fair, effective, and flexible post-2012 climate regime; enhancing the region's adaptive capacity; utilising market mechanisms more effectively; and building a low carbon society and exploiting developmental co-benefits, of which the task of transforming Asia's social, industrial and economic infrastructure towards a low carbon society is the most daunting. Nevertheless, the climate change regime beyond 2012 can be designed to assist Asia in this transformation? encompassing market mechanisms that transfer financial resources into the world's most cost-effective climate change mitigation options and ensuring that future infrastructure investments are designed and implemented to enhance the adaptive capacity of Asia's population and ecosystems.

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