|Opportunities for forestry investment in Asia and the Pacific through carbon offset initiatives. (1997)|
The Asia/Pacific is one of the most significant regions for consideration of future climate change impacts and strategies. From an environmental perspective, the region contains a large number of island nations and extensive coastal regions which are projected to be adversely affected by rising sea levels associated with climate change scenarios. Therefore, countries in the region feel particularly vulnerable and concerned about climate change. In addition, countries in the region contain significant portions of the worlds remaining natural tropical rainforests which are not only large terrestrial sinks of GHGs, but also major global reservoirs of biological diversity.
Developing countries of the Asia/Pacific region contain several nations that are among the worlds fastest growing populations and economies. Arguably all socio-economic levels within the region have benefited economically from a liberalization of the world economy. Investment by developed countries into the region is a major reason for the unprecedented growth in the region. JI/AIJs most basic definition is an opportunity to test investment in climate friendly projects and attempt to capture the emerging market value of carbon dioxide. Such investment could be viewed as simply another form of investment fuelling not only development, but sustainable development.
Developed countries are responsible for most of the historical GHG emissions and, therefore, bear much of the responsibility for the climate change problem. However, Southeast Asia is projected to become among the worlds largest contributors of GHG emissions in the coming decades. For example, China, the most populous country, recently became the third largest emitter of GHG, replacing the European Union. China, India, and Indonesia are currently among the top ten countries in GHG emissions, and their emissions, relative to other nations, are expected to grow significantly unless appropriate steps are taken (World Resources, 1994-95). China accounts for 9.9% of total global emissions, followed by India (3.7%) and Indonesia (1.9%). New technologies and strategies to reduce GHG emissions from baseline projections in these countries are therefore critical from a global perspective. The challenge is to enable countries to pursue sustainable development goals in a way that promotes energy efficient technologies and conservation of carbon sinks (forests) and thereby minimizes increase in GHG emissions.