The Climate Fight Is Asia’s Leadership Opportunity
The following is an excerpt of Kevin Rudd and Ban Ki-moon's op-ed originally published in Project Syndicate.
A year ago, following U.S. President Joe Biden’s election, multilateralism once again became the beating heart of global climate action. G20 leaders agreed to more ambitious near-term climate targets en route to achieving net-zero emissions by mid-century, and they committed to ending inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies and cooperating on clean energy deployment to phase out coal more quickly. The willingness of China and India to address fossil fuels reflected a growing awareness of the macroeconomic risks of resisting the clean-energy transition.
These outcomes were crucial for delivering a litany of new initiatives at last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) that were dedicated to “keeping 1.5 alive,” in line with the Paris climate agreement’s goal for limiting the increase in global temperature to 1.5º Celsius, relative to the preindustrial average. They also helped set the stage for the historic Glasgow Climate Pact, which commits every country to phase down unabated coal use, even if India and China were able to block calls to phase out coal entirely.