About Dina AzhgaliyevaDina Azhgaliyeva is a research fellow at ADBI.
The COVID-19 outbreak has had wide-ranging impacts on the economies of Central Asia, with uncertainty and protective policy measures contributing to falling demand and supply.
Reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG) must be achieved in the coming decades to avoid catastrophic global temperature rises. Limiting global warming to within 1.5°C will require rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all sectors. GHG emissions in Asia and the Pacific now account for over 50% of the world’s total.
By Dina Azhgaliyeva. Posted November 12, 2021
Developing Asian countries, such as Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Thailand, and Viet Nam, have announced their net-zero carbon emission targets by mid-century at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, and financing climate change mitigation has been at the forefront of discussions for making ambitious climate action a reality.
Spanning from the People’s Republic of China through Central Asian countries along the Caspian Sea to Europe, the Trans-Caspian Corridor is an increasingly important channel for transportation and cross-border trade. Considerable financing gaps and other challenges must be addressed to meet its rapidly expanding infrastructure needs.
Effective infrastructure projects not only construct infrastructure, such as roads, railways, water supply, and electricity, but can boost economic growth in the surrounding region through “spillover effects” (Yoshino, Azhgaliyeva, and Mishra 2021). The infrastructure benefits firms by lowering costs and improving connectivity and the ease of doing business, leading to greater sales and exports.
The member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have been experiencing a surge in energy demand due to their growing populations, expanding economies, and rising living standards. One reason for this rising energy demand is increased activity in the building and construction sector.
Air pollution in the cold countries of Central Asia is particularly high during winter due to the consumption of solid fuels for space heating. Evidence-based policy recommendations are needed to facilitate the transition from solid fuel consumption to the use of cleaner fuels for residential heating and cooking, particularly in Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic. This is important not only for improving health conditions for the inhabitants and visitors in these countries but also for reducing the life-threatening health hazards arising from indoor cooking and heating.
The mobilization of climate finance is critical for limiting global warming to within 1.5°C and preventing catastrophic climate change (IPCC 2018). Annual green investments totaling $1.5 trillion are needed (United Nations 2017). Despite the falling cost of renewable energy technologies, energy investments remain dominated by investments in fossil fuels. In Asia and the Pacific, annual investments fell after 2017 and until 2020 remained below the 2017 level.
Experts are increasingly acknowledging the vulnerability of the global solar photovoltaic (PV) value chain due to the concentration of manufacturing capacity in only a few countries, such as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) (Zhai 2020). In Japan, although solar power comprised only 7% of the country’s total power generation in 2018, it contributed to one-third of power from renewable sources. Given this high share of solar power in renewable energy sources, disruption in the availability of solar PV may have adverse consequences on the sustainability of renewable energy power generation.
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, Global Warming of 1.5 ºC, notes the importance of mobilizing green finance for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and preventing catastrophic climate change. In line with this, some countries have been implementing policies to support green bonds. Green bonds are debt securities whose proceeds are used to fund environmental projects, including climate change mitigation and adaptation. Therefore, unlike conventional bonds, green bonds finance projects with clear environmental benefits (ICMA 2018).
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