Key Messages to Policy Makers
• GHG emissions in Asia must be reduced drastically to meet the 2 oC target, which represents that the global mean temperature should be below 2 oC compared with preindustrial level.
• This paper presents common ten actions to achieve the low-carbon society in Asian countries although their situations are quite different.
• By applying the ten actions, Asia can reduce 68 % of GHG emissions in 2050 compared with the reference scenario.
• In practice, knowledge sharing among the countries is essential to achieve
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Asia have increased continuously and accounted for approximately 38 % of global emissions in 2005 (Fig. 1.1). Considering the rapid economic growth expected in the coming decades, emissions from Asia in 2050 are projected to double the 2005 levels if efforts are not made toward achieving low-carbon societies (LCSs). The Fifth Assessment Report of IPCC Working Group III (IPCC 2014) mentioned that, in order to achieve the 2 oC target, which is to limit the increase in global mean surface temperature to less than 2o C, the GHG emissions in 2050 and 2100 will have to be reduced by 41–72 % and 78–118 %, respectively,
Fig. 1.1 Total GHG emissions by region between 1970 and 2012 (Notes: Data source is EDGAR v4.2 FT2012 (EDGAR 2014). Others include international aviation and shipping)
compared with the 2010 level. This means that the reduction of GHG emissions in Asia is imperative for the transition by 2050 to an LCS worldwide that has halved GHG emissions. As the energy consumption is expected to grow continuously with economic development, the reduction of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning is an important goal. In addition, as the GHG emissions other than CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning account for approximately 40 % of the Asian GHG emissions, it is equally important to reduce them by actions like stopping deforestation, increasing CO2 absorption from forestry, and decreasing such emissions from farmland and livestock. Furthermore, taking measures toward the realization of an LCS may also lead to the resolution of other key developmental challenges such as improving energy access, reducing local pollution, and eradicating poverty.
The LCS transition by Asian countries will not be an easy task. In order to accomplish this transition, it is vital that stakeholders including central and local governments, private sector enterprises, NGOs and NPOs, citizens, and the global community tackle it with a focused and common vision of the society they wish to achieve, while cooperating with one another and being aware of the roles they need to play.
In addition, careful attentions should be placed on the diversity of the Asian countries when it comes to the implementation of countermeasures. Depending on the country or region in Asia, the level of development, amount and type of resources, climate conditions, culture, and other factors differ, and the actions that are effective may vary accordingly (Fig. 1.2). However, guidelines showing the common requirements for realizing an LCS in Asia are extremely useful when each country considers measures and strategies that are highly feasible and effective.
There are many future scenarios, and future society will be diverse and uncertain. Based on the previous studies, we summarize the future scenarios of this study into two types: one is advanced society scenario and another is conventional society scenario (Kawase and Matsuoka 2013). Advanced society scenario will accept the new social system, institution, technologies, etc., positively and proactively. On the
Fig. 1.2 Diversity and trends of Asian countries (Data source: UN Statistics Division 2015; IEA 2014a, b, c)
other hand, conventional society scenario will be discreet about the new social system, institution, technologies, etc., and worry about their transition cost. Table 1.1 shows the features of these two types of socioeconomic situations in Asia in 2050 for the quantitative analysis. The quantification in the following sections is based on Advanced Society Scenario.