Craig Steffensen, former North American Representative of the Asia Development Bank (ADB), shared his insights on the ADB’s efforts to support carbon reduction. In late 2021, the ADB launched an Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM) to advance regional efforts to move to low-carbon/carbon neutral energy sources within a rational repeatable infrastructure. The process seeks to advance the retirement of identified coal burning plants and transition to renewable energy sources. ETM has already initiated efforts in Indonesia and the Philippines, and the ADB recently announced that Pakistan will participate as well while Vietnam is under consideration.
Successful reduction of regional carbon emissions will require significant private sector involvement. International organizations like the ADB and the World Bank can facilitate development efforts and financing but that will not be enough to achieve ambitious goals to lower the region’s carbon footprint in an economically feasible way. China’s commitment to meet and exceed COP26 targets and the US-Chinese compromise on key environmental issues are huge positive steps. For its part, Japan is playing a leading role supporting the transition, actively collaborating participating governments and civil society elements in the region.