Opening Speech by Ayumi Konishi, Special Senior Advisor to the President, Asian Development Bank, at the Second Asia-Pacific Forum on Low Carbon Technology in Changsha, Hunan Province, People's Republic of China, 29 November 2017.
Honorable Vice Governor of Hunan Province, Mr. YANG Guangrong,
Distinguished guests, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good morning to you all.
On behalf of the Asian Development Bank President Mr. Takehiko Nakao, I warmly welcome all of you to this second Asia-Pacific Forum on Low Carbon Technology. I would like to express ADB’s deep appreciation to the Government of the PRC and Hunan Province for your hospitality, as well as for your commitment, partnership and continued cooperation for sustainable development.
I also would like to congratulate the successful completion of the 19th Party Congress, at which President Xi Jinping spoke about the very important concept of “shared destiny,” which is very pertinent to the Forum we are holding here in Hunan.
"ADB has committed to doubling its climate financing from its own resources to $6 billion per year by 2020...we are hoping to mainstream climate change adaptation, mitigation and environmental protection, and make our portfolios across all major sectors including energy, transport, or urban development much “greener.” "
As we all know, this year’s global climate discussions, or COP23 meeting, has just concluded in Bonn, Germany. We are encouraged that in Bonn, countries and non-state actors shared best practices to motivate higher nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to keep the global temperature raise to 1.5 degrees, rather than 2.0 degrees as reflected in the Paris Agreement. We find it very timely to discuss low carbon technology following the COP23 meeting, as aggressive adoption of low carbon technology will be an essential prerequisite for the world to collectively move closer to the more ambitious target to reducing the GHG emissions and containing the increase in temperature.
We know that the impacts of climate change are occurring with increasing severity and frequency. All nations are vulnerable, but generally, developing countries are even more vulnerable and less resilient with limited investment in adaptation. This situation calls for the need for us to make more investments in both mitigation and adaptation.
As we are to think about pursuing both mitigation and adaptation simultaneously, this year’s Asia-Pacific Forum on Low Carbon Technology will focus on cities. About 70% of the total GHG emissions come from cities, and the world’s largest, most populated cities are in the Asia-Pacific region. Cities present the most important opportunities to make a progress on the low carbon agenda, while it is essential to develop cities to be better prepared against natural disasters.
Every day, more than 120,000 people move to cities in the whole world, and by 2050, urban areas will account for more than 65% of Asia’s total population with 3.3 billion people, more than double the current number. It is an enormous challenge for our region to meet the needs for urban infrastructure and urban services efficiently and effectively, while balancing climate change and environmental considerations and sustaining inclusive growth.
We need to scale up successful measures and actions, and work toward healthier, more sustainable, low carbon cities. Across the region, economic growth has led to substantial improvement in living standards. However, it also put tremendous pressure on the consumption of energy and natural resources, resulting in serious urbanization challenges relating to the environment and climate change. We can reduce pollution and waste, and improve air and water quality, through efficient buildings, renewable energy, and clean transport or “orderly urbanization.”
In the PRC, many low carbon measures have been successfully implemented to date: for instance, district heating and cooling systems using waste heat and other clean energy sources have been widely built. Smart grids enhance the efficient use of energy while changing users’ behaviors. Bus rapid transit systems are an urban transport norm, integrated with non-motorized transport including shared bicycles and walking. Low carbon communities with enhanced climate resilient infrastructure have emerged in various PRC cities. All these examples show how low carbon technologies can further induce low carbon innovations.
In an effort to support the low carbon development agenda, it will be useful if we can develop new, additional, and innovative financing tools such as green bonds, green financing platforms, and financial risk-mitigation instruments. We also need to work hard to facilitate businesses and other non-governmental actors in developing and deploying low carbon technology.
It is in this context ADB has committed to doubling its climate financing from its own resources to $6 billion per year by 2020. We are also very keen to mobilize financing from external sources. Most importantly, together with our developing member countries, we are hoping to mainstream climate change adaptation, mitigation and environmental protection, and make our portfolios across all major sectors including energy, transport, or urban development much “greener.” In order to present how such an effort can be made, I would like to share some of the examples from our operations in the PRC.
Here in Hunan Province, we are now working with Xiangtan City to develop our first low carbon city development project. Our shared vision is to help Xiangtan City peak out its GHG emission much earlier than 2030, which is the PRC’s peaking-out target under its nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement. ADB is also proud to have supported the Hunan Government in developing the Climate Technology Finance Center for piloting new business and financing models to promote low carbon technologies.
At the policy level, ADB and NDRC have signed a milestone MOU in 2014 to work together in addressing climate change. We are hoping to scale up the implementation of the MOU, particularly in low carbon development, introduction of the nation-wide emission trading scheme (ETS), adaptation, climate technology demonstration and knowledge sharing, and capacity building of local government institutions on climate change.
To date, ADB has provided nearly $4 billion to the PRC for energy efficiency, renewable energy and other climate related projects. Projects approved in 2011-2015 in the urban, transport, and energy sectors are estimated to reducing 48 million tons of CO2 emissions per year.
"ADB has provided nearly $4 billion to the PRC for energy efficiency, renewable energy and other climate related projects. Projects approved in 2011-2015 in the urban, transport, and energy sectors are estimated to reducing 48 million tons of CO2 emissions per year. "
These early results prove the effectiveness of climate investments over “business as usual.” Future projects developed by all stakeholders can lead to even larger reductions in GHG emissions and reversing environmental degradation, resulting in healthier and safer cities.
In opening this second Asia-Pacific Forum on Low Carbon Technology, I would like to emphasize that while the transition to low carbon development is highly complex and challenging, it also presents great opportunities to create greener, healthier and more liveable cities. The Xiangtan low carbon city project, for example, will generate innovative policy instruments, tools and methodologies in low carbon city planning and management, and provide practical experience for other countries and cities to learn from. The smart approach is to take the city as a whole for comprehensive low carbon development.
A primary lesson we have all learned over the last 30 years of the PRC-ADB relationship is that knowledge sharing and partnership underpin successful operations. This is why we continue to support knowledge initiatives like this Forum which showcase success stories and experiences in promoting low carbon development and investment, and boost both North-South and South-South cooperation. I am very pleased that we have this opportunity to further enhance knowledge support throughout the region and encourage regional and South – South cooperation on low carbon development. I wish you all a very productive Forum. Thank you.