Southeast Asia one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change: Eco-Business report

NOVEMBER 27, 2018 - 10:35 AM

Southeast Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to climate change, with coastlines and densely populated low-lying areas that are increasingly threatened by rising sea levels, according to a study by Eco-Business.

The new report on Asean’s energy landscape titled “Power Trip: Southeast Asia’s journey to a low carbon economy” found that Southeast Asian countries are beginning to transform the way energy is produced and consumed in order to transition to a low carbon, sustainable economy. This includes switching to clean energy sources, introducing policies to reduce emissions, and re-evaluating businesses and assets which may be exposed to the effects of climate change.

This comes on the back of a forecast by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that climate change could potentially shave off 11 per cent off the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of the century if left unchecked.

Key findings showed that the top three sectors most in need of investment in the region were renewable energy and storage, clean energy public transport systems and energy efficient technologies and innovations.

Meanwhile, the top drivers in the transition to a low carbon economy were business leadership, local government initiatives, and consumer pressure and purchasing habits, while the top two barriers to the transition were insufficient policy or regulation and lack of access to funding.

The report also found that changes anticipated in this transition were that there would be increased environmental regulations; consumers and businesses would have more clean energy options and services; and investors and fund managers would reduce their investment exposure to high carbon assets and businesses.

Tim Hill, Research Director for Eco-Business who led the white paper, said: “Although we noted some concerns about the pace of uptake of clean energy in some of the countries, it is clear that the technologies underlying the whole transition are enabling a more resilient and less polluted world - and there are going to be a lot of business opportunities in this new era.”

This report surveyed 562 senior government, business and civic society executives from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam between August and September 2018.