World, Environment

'Significant' progress made towards 2015 Paris climate goals: Expert

Experts at Japan-hosted Asia-Pacific Climate Week event focus on action, challenges, opportunities, solutions in region

Burak Bir  | 06.07.2021 - Update : 06.07.2021
'Significant' progress made towards 2015 Paris climate goals: Expert


"Significant improvement" has been achieved since the 2015 Paris climate deal in efforts to limit global warming, a climate scientist said on Tuesday.

But there is still a "long way to go" to cap temperatures at 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels, physicist and climate scientist Bill Hare said at a side event being held as part of Asia Pacific Climate Week (APCW) 2021.

Climate policies need to be more ambitious towards preventing the negative effects of climate change, argued Hare, who works at Climate Analytics, a non-governmental organization based in Berlin.

During the online event held by Climate Analytics, experts made presentations and commented on countries' plans to limit global warming to 1.5 C, including key benchmarks for domestic action, such as fossil-fuel phase-out deadlines for some Asia-Pacific countries.

Fossil fuel use in Bangladesh, Japan

Speaking on Bangladesh, energy research and policy analyst Nandini Das noted that the majority of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the country came from energy and agricultural activities.

"Primary energy use is heavily dominated by fossil fuel and it is mainly by natural gas, ... (as) around 75% of electricity in Bangladesh is generated from natural gas," stated Das, who also works at Climate Analytics.

Traditional biomass also takes a major share in the primary energy mix, added Das, highlighting that renewables play a small role in the country.

Also speaking on Japan, she noted that the energy sector in the country accounts for 88% of emissions, with power alone accounting for 40%.

"Oil makes up the largest share of total primary energy supply (TPES), primarily used in transport and industry," Das added.

She went on to say that nuclear, gas, and coal, historically, each made up around a quarter of the power supply in Japan.

"Japan is the world's largest importer of LNG," she said, adding that imported LNG makes up 23% of TPES as of 2017.

However, Das also noted that Japan's LNG imports have declined in recent years.

Touching on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) of Japan, she reminded the Japanese government's announcement in October 2020 on net zero GHG and carbon neutrality by 2050.

Situation in Pakistan, Singapore

On Pakistan, climate scientist Fahad Saeed said the country is one of the most vulnerable to climate change.

"Two main sectors account for the bulk of the country's emissions, the energy and agriculture sectors -- 47% and 42%, respectively," he noted.

Pakistan benefits from diversified energy sources, Saaed said, but also stressed that fossil fuels make up around 60% of primary energy.

In recent years, the country has met growing energy demand mostly through new coal-fired plants and gas imports, he added.

Touching on the Singapore case, Saeed said the energy sector accounts for the majority of emissions, with 94%, which consists of electricity with 40%, and energy use from the industry sector with 36%.

"It is important to mention that Singapore does not produce oil or gas, but serves as a major oil refining and petrochemical hub," he noted.

Fossil fuel dominates Singapore's energy system, Saaed added, saying 96% of its power mix comes from natural gas while 80% of primary energy from oil.

Referring to the country's 1.5 C emissions trajectory, he said Singapore updated its NDC in March 2020 by changing its intensity target to an absolute target by 2030.

"Decarbonizing the energy sector will drive down CO2 levels, particularly energy combustion," Saaed also said.

He added that a 1.5 C pathway would require Singapore to reduce GHG emissions "by 52%-61% below 2015 levels by 2030 or by 98% below 2015 levels by 2050."

According to Climate Analytics, 16 Asia Pacific countries are highly reliant on fossil fuels, and account for about 76% of global coal generation capacity.

The APCW 2021, hosted by Japan, seeks to take the pulse of climate action in the region, explore challenges and opportunities, and showcase ambitious solutions, according to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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