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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 10 April, 2021

  • 5 Min Read

EU to Support Southeast Asia against Climate Change

EU's Support to Southeast Asia against Climate Change

The European Union (EU) has earmarked millions of euros for supporting climate-friendly development in Southeast Asia after the EU became a “strategic partner” of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc in December 2020.

Other Talking Points

Multilateral Assistance:

  • The EU is the largest provider of development assistance to the ASEAN region and has committed millions of euros to various environmental programs.
  • This includes 5 million Euros to the ASEAN Smart Green Cities initiative and another 5 million Euros towards a new means of preventing deforestation, called the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade in ASEAN.
  • Along with multilateral assistance, the EU also works with individual ASEAN member states on eco-friendly policies like Thailand’s Bio-Circular-Green Economic Model and Singapore’s Green Plan 2030.

Problems Faced by the EU in Southeast Asia:

  • The region’s environmental policy in Southeast Asia is going in the wrong direction in many areas on climate change.
  • Five ASEAN states were among the fifteen countries most affected by climate change between 1999–2018, according to the Climate Risk Index 2020.
  • Southeast Asia’s energy demand is projected to grow 60% by 2040.
  • Coal-fired energy will overtake natural gas as the main power source in the ASEAN region by 2030. And by 2040 it could account for almost 50% of the region’s projected CO2 emissions.
  • In 2019, the region consumed around 332 million tons of coal, nearly double the consumption from a decade earlier, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
  • This will contribute to a two-thirds rise in CO2 emissions to almost 2.4 gigatons, according to the Southeast Asia Energy Outlook 2019.

Risks for the EU in Southeast Asia:

  • If the EU takes a strong forceful stance on coal consumption in the region, it could spark anger from the main exporters of the commodity, China, India and Australia. The EU's climate change policy in the region has already been met with resistance.
  • Indonesia last year initiated proceedings at the World Trade Organization against the EU’s phased ban on palm-oil imports.
  • The EU contends the ban is to protect the environment, but Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer, says it is mere protectionism.
  • Malaysia, the world’s second-largest palm oil producer, supports Indonesia in its battle against the EU.
  • The other problem for the EU is that it risks accusations of hypocrisy if it takes too forceful a stance on coal-fired energy production in Southeast Asia.
  • Poland and the Czech Republic of the EU remain dependent on coal-fired energy production.
  • Southeast Asia and Europe each accounted for around 11% of the world’s thermal coal imports in 2019.

India’s Coordination with Asean on Climate Change:

  • In 2012 Both adopted a 'New Delhi Declaration on ASEAN-India Cooperation in Renewable Energy.
  • ASEAN-India Green Fund was established in 2007 with USD 5 million for funding pilot projects to promote adaptation and mitigation technologies in the field of climate change.
  • ASEAN and India are collaborating on several projections of Climate Change and biodiversity through a partnership with IISc, Bangalore.

Source: TH


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