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The world cannot fight climate change without the participation of East Asia – The Diplomat


In East Asia, spring comes with cherry blossoms. White and pink flowers often give people joy and hope. This year, however, it also gave the people of East Asia another alarming signal, as flowers bloom too early. Kyoto in Japan recorded the earliest cherry blossoms in 1,200 years. Seoul in South Korea also saw the earliest blooms, on March 24, since observations began in 1922. Climate scientists say due to global warming, the frosts The last spring price occurs earlier and therefore the flower blooms earlier.

Unfortunately, the effects of climate change are not limited to early blooming. Climate change affects the biological life cycle of many crops, vegetables, fruits and plants, causing serious problems for food security and farmers’ livelihoods. In recent years, food supplies in East Africa have been significantly affected by crop failures, droughts and grasshoppers. Scientists and experts warn that climate change could be even more devastating than COVID-19 – just think what the world and our lives would be like if we had a food crisis. global together with a global pandemic.

The scientific solution to the global climate change is clear. We need to curb the rise in average global temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To do that, global net man-made carbon dioxide emissions need to be halved by 2030 and back to “zero real” by around 2050. However, Initial NDC Synthesis Report of The UNFCCC in February 2021 analyzed Nationally Defined Contribution (NDCs) submitted by 75 parties, representing 30% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and concluded that “total impact Their integration puts them on a path to achieve a 1% reduction by 2030 compared to 2010 levels ”.

The conclusion points to a clear fact how governments are failing in climate action. In particular, Japan and South Korea along with Brazil, Russia and several other countries have been criticized for submitting incomplete and not updated targets. However, the two biggest emitters, China and the US, were not included in the analysis. Since G2 countries emit more than 40% of global emissions, it is important for them to cooperate and show leadership.

Against this backdrop, the commitments to mitigate GHGs are greatly strengthened by major carbon emitting countries around the world, including the UK, the US, Japan and Canada, at the Leaders’ Summit on nuclear climate. Earth Day’s 51st anniversary has provided more hope for the climate action we need. However, we still need more ambitious goals and plans and we don’t have time to waste.

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Although not enough to meet the target of 1.5 degrees Celsius, Japan has attempted to increase the 2030 target to a decrease of 46% compared to the 2013 level (up from the previous target of 26%). South Korea and China also need to step up their emissions reduction targets to keep their commitment to carbon neutral by 2050 and 2060.

It is impossible to overstate the roles and responsibilities of the three major economies in East Asia – China, Japan and South Korea – in global climate action. According to Our World data, the total annual carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels for energy and cement production in these three East Asian countries in 2019 are almost equal to the 27 EU and North countries. America, South America, Africa. and Oceania lumped together. One might think it was simply for China, and mostly so. However, the total emissions of Japan and Korea are also significant; it equates to about 60% of the total emissions of the 27 EU countries.

These three countries are also the last villains to not only increase domestic coal-fired power plants, but also invest abroad, especially in South and Southeast Asia. In a welcome change, South Korea announced it would not finance new overseas coal power projects from its public financial institutions at the Climate Leaders Summit. Although Korea has not canceled coal projects that have started recently in Indonesia and Vietnam, this commitment is a step forward in avoiding the global climate crisis. Japan and China should also join the coal divestment trend.

Now, it’s time for the three major economies in East Asia to invest more in energy efficient and renewable energy projects. The 2021 Boom and Bust Report emphasizes that lower power demand in South and Southeast Asia coupled with tightening financing of coal plants and lower costs for renewable energy are driving coal in regions. This is exhausted.

In the story of the Three Kingdoms, loved by the people of East Asia, the three rival nations fought to the death for power. However, in the fight with climate change, China, Japan and South Korea need to work together to survive and prosper. Zhuge Liang in the Three Kingdoms has said: “Win wisely before fighting, while fighting stupid to win”. Leaders in East Asia need to be ready to win before we can fight a climate disaster.

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