Asian Low Carbon Green Growth in the Global Context
Opening Address byHaruhiko KurodaPresidentAsian Development BankAt the East Asia Climate Forum29 May 2009Seoul, Korea
Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:On behalf of the Asian Development Bank, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy at the passingaway of former President, Roh Moo-hyun.I would like to thank Prime Minister Han Seung-Soo and Professor Kim Hyung-kook, Co-chair of Presidential Committee on Green Growth for inviting me to this East Asia Climate Forum. I amdelighted to have this opportunity to discuss the challenges we now face in addressing climatechange and generating and financing low-carbon growth in Asia and the Pacific. I am alsopleased to share with you some of ADB's actions and experiences in promoting low-carbongreen growth in the region.I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Korea forhosting the Forum, and to the Korean people for their warm and gracious hospitality. I am alsopleased to see here so many officials from ADB's member countries together withrepresentatives from our development partners, nongovernment organizations, the privatesector, and other stakeholders. I thank all of you for joining us today for this important event.
Responding to the Global Climate Change Crisis
It is now widely accepted that increased concentrations of human-caused greenhouse gases(GHGs) in our atmosphere are linked to rising global temperatures. Such rising temperatureswill have adverse consequences on people's health, safety and livelihoods around the world,with the poor disproportionately affected. The latest scientific evidence suggests that thisprocess may be occurring even faster than previously predicted. Clearly the entire globaleconomy must reduce its reliance on the combustion of fossil fuels, or else the negative impactsof climate change will seriously drag down global economic growth. In Asia and the Pacific,climate change threatens to undermine the considerable social and economic progress achievedin recent years. Responding to climate change has therefore become a central element of theADB's work.Intense negotiations are underway towards a new agreement on how the world will collectivelyaddress the climate change challenge. Global greenhouse gas emissions must be cutsubstantially. And it is critical to reach a common understanding on transitioning to low-carbongrowth - in both the developed and developing worlds - and preparing for the inevitable adverseimpacts of climate change. Mitigation and adaptation measures must also be backed bytechnology transfer and international financing. Unless decisive actions are taken, it is likely thatthe effects of climate change will take millennia to reverse, and will threaten the core of ourplanet's life support system, upon which we all depend.But there are promising signs that we will see meaningful progress in Copenhagen later thisyear. The European Union has committed to significant emission cuts by 2020; the United Stateshas rejoined the negotiations and is considering its own measures to greatly reduce emissionsover time. Progress also has been made in the United Nations Framework Convention onClimate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations - and also through the G20 and other forums - onidentifying the adjustments needed in the energy and transport sectors of developing countries,as well as ways to reduce deforestation.World economic leaders have rightly focused their attention on addressing the global economicdownturn. At the same time, a number of countries have sought ways to stimulate demandwhile simultaneously laying the groundwork for more climate-friendly development - so-called"green stimulus" measures. I believe such programs can help countries generate long-term