Keynote speech by ADB President Takehiko Nakao at the Industrial and Business Summit on Low Carbon Development on 23 September 2015 in Hunan, People's Republic of China. (as drafted).
Your Excellency, Mr. Zhang Jianfei, Vice Governor of Hunan Province. Honorable guests, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
It is a great pleasure for me to be here in Hunan and be a part of this important summit—a much needed platform to address climate change through the promotion of low carbon development.
On this occasion, I would like to emphasize ADB’s commitment to help our developing member countries become low-carbon, climate-resilient economies, and share with you the importance of the ADB–PRC Climate Change Cooperation and progress made with Hunan Province to promote low carbon and clean technologies.
Overview on climate change
Climate change is a critical global issue, as most of us already know. Its impacts and consequences are the greatest threat to human society. Globally and regionally, the adverse impacts of climate changes will become more pronounced in the coming years, bringing with them greater threats on water, energy and food security, health, and livelihood, deepening damage to economy and society. The Asia and the Pacific Region is one of the most vulnerable to these impacts and now continues to experience extreme climate events. Hunan, as one example, suffered from the extreme cold weather in early 2008 and torrential rains in July last year.
This year, 2015, is seen as a milestone year when significant global actions for sustainable development and climate change have converged, culminating at the 21st Climate Change Conference in Paris. At this conference, international communities are expected to adopt a legally binding and universal agreement. The People’s Republic of China (the PRC) in playing an important role in achieving such an agreement. It is our belief that the international agreement will stimulate global low carbon development.
ADB views and actions
With climate change as a priority, ADB, with its development partners, has committed to supporting our developing member countries transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies. We help them by formulating innovative policies and mechanisms, building institutional capacities, and enhancing climate investments.
Through financing and innovative technologies, ADB is helping the region to follow a green growth path. From 2011 to 2014, it approved over $13 billion of climate financing. Nearly $2 billion of this was approved for the PRC for agriculture, ecological resources, energy & energy efficiency, transport, water, and waste & wastewater systems. During the same period, ADB approved 200 clean energy projects that are expected to eliminate over 45 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually. Of these 200 projects, 26, approved for the PRC, are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by over 10 million tons each year.
ADB has engaged with the private sector to boost climate investments. It launched a $400 million joint venture, the Asia Climate Partners, which will make private equity investments in environment- and climate-friendly companies and transactions. In March this year, we raised $500 million by our first green bond issue, to support investments in climate mitigation and climate resilience.
ADB also integrates climate change technologies into planning and investment to amplify the climate change dimension of development projects. Under the Pilot Asia–Pacific Climate Technology Finance Center, ADB successfully integrated climate technologies in national and provincial development and investment planning processes. Hunan and other developing member countries were the beneficiaries of this Center. Additionally, ADB successfully provided training courses on clean technologies to build the capacity of the private sector and attract more venture capital investments.
This year, ADB became the first multilateral development bank accredited as an implementing entity to the Green Climate Fund, making additional climate finance more accessible to our developing member countries for investment projects.
ADB-PRC climate change cooperation
As we all know, the PRC committed to reduce its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 60%–65% from 2005 level by 2030. It further agreed to limit greenhouse gas emissions and target peaking CO2 emissions by 2030. The PRC has made it clear that it intends to advance this target and start reducing the total emissions even sooner.
ADB fully supports the PRC’s view that tackling climate change and enabling the PRC transition to green growth and low carbon development is critical. Accordingly, ADB and the National Development and Reform Commission of PRC (NDRC) agreed to address climate change challenges together under a key memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in January 2014. This led to various knowledge events held in Beijing, Tianjin, and Changsha. Under the MOU, ADB is also helping the NDRC select two pilot cities for peaking greenhouse gas emissions during 2020–2025. Key pilot activities are now underway here in Hunan to scale up climate technologies that may be replicated in other areas in the PRC and the rest of developing Asia.
Climate actions in Hunan
Hunan Province is one of the fastest-growing provinces in the PRC. With a GDP growth rate among the top 10 in the country and a high energy demand growth, it has considerable potential to promote climate technology. The province has already reduced greenhouse gas emission intensity by more than the requirement set by the central government.
I commend the Government of Hunan for this significant achievement, which, I believe, had much to do with strong leadership that took on innovative approaches. Further contributing to this success was the preparation of the Hunan Provincial Government’s Work Plan on Emission Reduction, which gave clear policy directions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions through various measures.
The involvement of the Broad Group, which provides clean technology products and services to over 70 countries, also helped to make these achievements possible. This only further emphasizes how the role of business and industry in reaching climate targets is vital.
We are pleased to see that Hunan is actively accelerating the transfer and deployment of low carbon and clean technologies, with support from ADB’s Pilot Asia-Pacific Climate Technology Finance Center. A low-carbon technology incubator was launched in March 2015 in Golden Oasis Park, Changsha for climate technology start-ups and businesses to attract investors. A venture capital fund for early-stage clean technology investments is being set-up with support from the Government of Hunan. An accelerator program for promising Hunan-based clean technology start-ups is under development. A low-carbon network and market platform in Hunan is also being launched.
Yesterday, in front of me and Governor Du Jiahao, ADB and the Government of Hunan signed an MOU to continue the support on the creation of the low carbon technology venture capital fund, incubation center, and the network and market platform. An international forum on low carbon technology in Changsha in 2016 is also planned under the MOU. Governor Du Jiahao and I shared our strong hope that these various initiatives will strongly reinforce climate technology promotion here in Hunan towards low carbon development.
In closing, I would like to note my belief that we have the means, the imagination, and human ingenuity to solve the climate change problem and avoid further irreparable harm as long as we act now and act together. It requires strong leadership and the adoption of innovative approaches and, the promotion of low carbon development.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks for having me at this important event. I also thank the Government of Hunan for cooperating with ADB to promote climate technology investment.
I wish you all a productive and successful Summit.