We have the ingenuity and the financial means to confront climate change

President, Asian Development Bank

Geothermal plant in Indonesia, which holds considerable geothermal energy potential thanks to its hundreds of active and extinct volcanoes ©Reuters/Beawiharta Beawiharta

Climate change is the pre-eminent challenge of our time. We need financing to mitigate and adapt to its impacts.  

Climate change cuts across most of the new Sustainable Development Goals, which were agreed by global leaders in New York in September. Indeed, action on the global climate is essential to attain other development goals, such as poverty elimination, water and food security, and sustainable economic growth. We are also expecting that in December a new global climate agreement will be finalised at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris.  

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced in September that it will double its annual climate financing to US$6 billion by 2020–taking it to around 30% of our overall financing. This commitment reflects the importance of addressing climate change in Asia and the Pacific, where rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and weather extremes like floods, droughts and tropical storms are damaging livelihoods and taking too many lives.  

This announcement by ADB comes against the backdrop of a pledge by developed countries to mobilise $100 billion a year from 2020 to combat climate change in developing countries. ADB’s doubling of climate finance reflects its strategic priorities as well as the increase of overall financing capacity by up to 50% due to a more efficient use of its balance sheet.  

But finance alone is not enough to meet huge challenges. It is imperative that we combine increased finance with smarter technology, stronger partnerships and deeper knowledge.   

Technology: The Asia-Pacific region currently generates 37% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This will rise without aggressive interventions including a shift to cleaner technologies such as solar, wind and geothermal, and to sustainable transport and smarter, greener cities. Similarly, adaptation technology solutions, such as advanced drainage systems, heat-tolerant road surfacing and better irrigation, can help safeguard communities from climate impacts.  

This is already happening in places like Indonesia, Southeast   Asia’s largest economy, where an ADB-supported geothermal power project will enhance energy security and offer a blueprint for the next generation of geothermal plants. In the Maldives, one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, innovative hybrid solar systems being built in 160 of 192 inhabited islands will reduce greenhouse emissions, cut the cost of electricity and enhance energy security.  

Such major initiatives require careful planning and deep knowledge of local conditions to ensure the best technologies are selected and applied. This is why ADB will adjust its procurement systems to integrate cleaner and more advanced technology into its projects.  

Adequate regulatory and financial arrangements should also be in place to ensure the technologies are economically viable. Otherwise, countries with constrained budgets will almost certainly opt for cheaper, more polluting energy sources based on fossil fuels.   

Partnerships: Strong partnerships are an essential component of a successful climate response because public budgets in developing countries are limited and government cannot do it alone.  

The private sector can bring crucial financing, technology and expertise to global efforts against climate change. But business is sometimes reluctant to get involved as climate-relevant technologies can be regarded as risky.  

Proper risk sharing can entice private-sector financing, but this often only happens if the government takes an enabling role in a venture by providing equity or guarantees. Public-private partnerships are one way of attracting private-sector involvement in climate-friendly projects.  

We need more initiatives like ADB-sponsored Asia Climate Partners, a $400 million joint venture that will make private equity investments in environment- and climate-friendly companies and transactions. It aims to invest in areas including renewable energy, clean technology, natural resource efficiency, water, agriculture and forestry.   

Knowledge: Finally, successful global action on climate change will depend on access to climate-relevant knowledge and information. This will require expanded partnerships between financing and knowledge institutions.  

A model for future partnerships is the recently launched Climate Services for Resilient Development. It teams governments with multilateral development banks such as ADB, philanthropic institutions and private-sector companies to develop new tools, services and approaches to boost the climate resilience of developing countries. This diverse partnership delivers a broad range of expertise through the involvement of institutions such as NASA, Google and the Skoll Global Threats Fund.  

We have the ingenuity and the financial means to confront climate change. With the right technologies, partnerships and knowledge, we can make real progress while there is still time.  

Visit www.adb.org and www.adb.org/themes/environment/climate-change

See news release on ADB’s climate financing: www.adb.org/news/adb-double-annual-climate-financing-6-billion-asia-pacific-2020

©OECD Observer No 304, November 2015




Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q4 2017 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.6% May 2018 annual
Trade: +2.7% exp, +3.0% imp, Q4 2017
Unemployment: 5.4% Mar 2018
Last update: 06 Jul 2018

E-Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly


Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Watch the webcast of the final press conference of the OECD annual ministerial meeting 2018.
  • International co-operation, inclusive growth and digitalisation lead the themes of the 2018 OECD Forum in Paris on 29-30 May, under the banner of What brings us together www.oecd.org/forum. It is held alongside the annual OECD Ministerial Council Meeting on 30-31 May, chaired this year by France with a focus on multilateralism www.oecd.org/mcm.
  • Listen to the "Robots are coming for our jobs" episode of The Guardian's "Chips with Everything podcast", in which The Guardian’s economics editor, Larry Elliott, and Jeremy Wyatt, a professor of robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Birmingham, and Jordan Erica Webber, freelance journalist, discuss the findings of the new OECD report "Automation, skills use and training". Listen here.
  • Do we really know the difference between right and wrong? Alison Taylor of BSR and Susan Hawley of Corruption Watch tell us why it matters to play by the rules. Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview here.
  • Has public decision-making been hijacked by a privileged few? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Stav Shaffir, MK (Zionist Union) Chair of the Knesset Committee on Transparency here.
  • Can a nudge help us make more ethical decisions? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Saugatto Datta, managing director at ideas42 here.
  • Ambassador Aleksander Surdej, Permanent Representative of Poland to the OECD, was a guest on France 24’s English-language show “The Debate”, where he discussed French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
  • The fight against tax evasion is gaining further momentum as Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia signed the BEPS Multilateral Convention on 24 January, bringing the total number of signatories to 78. The Convention strengthens existing tax treaties and reduces opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.
  • Rousseau
  • Do you trust your government? The OECD’s How's life 2017 report finds that only 38% of people in OECD countries trust their government. How can we improve our old "Social contract?" Read more.
  • Papers show “past coming back to haunt us”: OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria tells Sky News that the so-called "Paradise Papers" show a past coming back to haunt us, but one which is now being dismantled. Please watch the video.
  • When someone asks me to describe an ideal girl, in my head, she is a person who is physically and mentally independent, brave to speak her mind, treated with respect just like she treats others, and inspiring to herself and others. But I know that the reality is still so much different. By Alda, 18, on International Day of the Girl. Read more.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Read some of the insightful remarks made at OECD Forum 2017, held on 6-7 June. OECD Forum kick-started events with a focus on inclusive growth, digitalisation, and trust, under the overall theme of Bridging Divides.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at www.oecd.org/careers .
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2018