The global economy is currently organized in an environmentally damaging way: goods are produced, used, and discarded. The shared economy and the platform economy offer alternatives, but not solutions. The key to a more sustainable economy could lie in the combination of the two.
Many parts of Asia are affected by high levels of air pollution. The continent is home to some of the most polluted megacities in the world, including Beijing and Shanghai in China, and Delhi and Kolkata in India. While these places suffer all year round, several countries in Southeast Asia face a unique air pollution problem that is seasonal, but no less dire.
The worldwide debate over more environmentally friendly energy is replete with myths that slow down the uptake of renewables. In fact, renewable energy is increasingly competitive, and the transition is entirely feasible for ASEAN countries today.
Climate change means that drought is likely to scourge larger parts of the world, and more often, with serious impacts on agriculture and food supply. Drought episodes are generally tackled via ad hoc policy support measures. As the Australian case shows, such responses should be replaced with longer-term policy interventions across good and bad seasonal conditions.
Having built the world’s second-largest economy on the back of its mammoth manufacturing sector, China is now contending with not just environmental problems but also economic obstacles. Policies that make businesses greener can raise costs, and negative impacts on labor must be mitigated.
With environmental and societal concerns coming to the forefront of global discussion, adopting green finance is a matter of highest urgency. In Asia, the shift has already begun. Banks, funds, and companies are increasingly building systems for and investing in greener projects.
Carbon pricing has been widely considered for the past 25 years as a useful tool to help combat climate change. Adoption has progressed, but the pace has been glacial. As the U.S. retreats from climate change leadership, China, as shown by its embrace of emissions trading, is stepping in to fill the vacuum.
The transition to renewable energy in Southeast Asia has been widely publicized and lauded, but a closer look reveals that non-carbon-intensive power sources can also cause damage and enhance inequalities. A more effective strategy would focus on reducing demand.
The Dongjiang River, which supplies fresh water to almost 40 million people, is being threatened by pollution. But as new technology parks increasingly replace pig farms and other decaying industries, there could be an opportunity to invent more sustainable solutions—for Guangdong province, Hong Kong, and the world.
It is well known that air pollution is harmful to human health. What is much less known is how it specifically affects people over the long term. China’s Huai River policy, which dispensed free coal to northern China for winter heating, has inadvertently revealed to us that air pollution literally shaves years off our lives. But China has made considerable progress in confronting this pollution.
Many of the earliest of the great civilizations on Earth were centered on life-giving rivers, such as the Yangtze and the Euphrates, the Nile and the Indus. Rivers remain crucial to modern societies, but pollution is choking the life out of them. For humanity’s sake, governments must act to counter this. The good news is that they already have the tools.
Having pursued growth at all costs for decades, the world now faces widespread environmental degradation. In Japan, this is compounded by a demographic crisis driven by a shrinking population. Contrary to conventional understanding, this may actually present an opportunity for the country to work toward a more sustainable future.
China’s growing appetite for seafood has led to fundamental changes in the global fishing industry, with ramifications for regional security. With every step it takes in fishing policy, the Chinese government must balance its need for food security with environmental and diplomatic concerns.
Businesses also incur massive human and economic costs during natural disasters. They can reduce these costs by diversifying geographically and technologically.
Last month, the first session of China's 13th National People's Congress enacted a much discussed constitutional change, opening up a path for Xi Jinping to be president for life. Beyond this spectacular measure, promotions and appointments indicate the direction of the winds for China's foreign partners and competitors.
Air conditioning has become an inherent part of life in the tropical heat of Southeast Asia. This incurs environmental costs and burdens low-income families with high energy bills. Energy consumption could be reduced, and societal wellbeing improved by cultivating microclimate diversity, with adapted architectural design involving passive cooling and natural shading.
Extensive and intensive agriculture is being questioned in various parts of the world for its environmental and social costs. But in China, a series of food safety scandals have led the Chinese dairy industry to move towards large integrated farms run by a handful of mega-producers.
Disaster-prone Asian countries are well aware of the urgent need to set up disaster management strategies. Siloed bureaucratic processes only hinder these efforts, as resilience comes from better engagement of local communities and the exploration of multiple sources of knowledge.