Regional Climate Emissions Report, by Kennedy Graham

Kennedy Graham keynote 



  • The Asia-Pacific region is the fastest growing source of GHGs in the world
  • The Asia-Pacific region is now responsible for 50 percent of total global emissions
  • This percentage is rising.



  • The Asia-Pacific region also includes several of the countries that are most at risk from climate change impacts.
  • Data from the Climate Risk Index for 2013 shows that of the ten countries most affected by extreme weather events, six were in the Asia-Pacific region: Philippines, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Laos, and Vietnam.
  • Given that climate change will increase the severity and frequency of extreme weather events, these countries are especially at risk from climate change.
  • In addition to these at risk countries identified by the Climate Risk Index 2013, the Asia-Pacific region is home to several low-lying Pacific Island nations which are at risk of becoming uninhabitable or even disappearing due to sea level rise and extreme weather events caused by climate change.
  • Some of these have countries are already lost land along coastlines due to sea-level rise and erosion
  • Their freshwater resources are threatened due to saltwater intrusion and
  • Increased occurrences of tropical cyclones, floods and droughts threaten food security.



  • So whose responsibility is it to reduce emissions? Who is best placed to do so?
  • This slide shows emissions data for the five largest net emitters of gases per capita (in red) and the five smallest net emitters of greenhouse gasses per capita (in blue) for the Asia-Pacific region. Countries in green (or with an underline) are those with representatives at the 2015 Asia Pacific Greens Federation Congress.
  • Data compiled by the New Zealand Parliamentary Library, primarily from the IMF database.
  • For the full list of Asia-Pacific countries, see Appendix A in the handout (attached).
  • If we look at country profiles in terms of emissions (total and per capita) we see there is high diversity within the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The region is home to the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, China, as well as the smallest emitters. In general, the developed countries have high emissions per capita, but so do some of the small Pacific Island nations that use diesel powered generators.



  • In terms of responsibility for addressing climate change, there is an evolution underway from an expectation that developed countries “take the lead” to all countries “doing their fair share”.
  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the global climate treaty signed in 1992. The text of the non-binding treaty asked developing countries to take the lead in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the end of the decade.
  • The UNFCCC was the parent treaty to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that created a legal obligation for developed (Annex 1) countries to cut their emissions for the period 2008-2012.
  • There was always an intention for a second commitment period from 2012-2020, but negotiations in Copenhagen failed to deliver a binding global agreement.
  • This brings us to today.
  • Now all countries are being asked, ahead of the climate negotiations in Paris in December, to create their own emissions targets, and then to meet them.
  • These Intended Nationally Determined Contributions are being sought from all countries, developed and developing.
  • Top down is out, bottom up is in.


  • The Asia-Pacific region has a pivotal role to play in stabilising the climate.
  • Global climate frameworks have required developing countries
  • to cut their emissions since 1992, and yet the developed countries in the Asia-Pacific – New Zealand, Australia, and Japan – have all increased their net emissions from 1990-2012.
  • Developed countries of the Asia-Pacific have not lived up to their obligations.
  • Now these countries have the opportunity to live up to their responsibilities and table strong emissions reduction targets before the climate negotiations in Paris.
  • Although New Zealand, Australia, and Japan aren’t the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the region, they have a historical obligation that they have been avoiding.
  • The emerging economies of the Asia Pacific, whose contributions to stabilising the climate are vital, will be looking to us to do our part. If we don’t, why should they?
  • Small island nations whose very existence is threatened by climate change have been leading emissions reductions in the Asia-Pacific region. But they know that their existence depends on the actions of others and they are imploring us to do our bit.
  • The president of the Marshall Islands has said, “New Zealand can and should do more… [yet] Kiwi emissions continue to climb.”

Press Release: Greens release climate snapshot of the Asia-Pacific region

The Green Party today released a climate change snapshot of the Asia-Pacific region which highlights that the region is home to the countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions and the countries that will be most impacted by climate change.

The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand released its snapshot report at the Asia-Pacific Greens Federation Congress in Wellington today. In attendance were representatives from Green parties from the Asia-Pacific region including Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Taiwan, and New Zealand.

“The Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions globally and yet the region is home to some of the countries most vulnerable to climate change,” said Green Party global affairs spokesperson Kennedy Graham.

“Of the ten countries in the world that topped the 2015 Global Climate Risk Index, six are in the Asia-Pacific.

“The Asia-Pacific region has several low-lying island nations which may eventually disappear due to sea level rise and extreme weather events.

“Global climate frameworks have required developed countries to cut their emissions since 1992, and yet the developed countries of the Asia-Pacific − New Zealand, Australia, and Japan – have all increased emissions.

“The developed countries of the Asia-Pacific, including New Zealand, have the opportunity to live up to our responsibilities and table strong emissions targets at the upcoming climate negotiations in Paris.

“For decades, Green Parties have been at the political forefront of addressing climate change, and our voice is needed now more than ever.

“This Asia-Pacific Greens Federation Congress is about sharing ideas, solutions, and support for each other to tackle climate change. From West Asia to Oceania, we are all in this together.”

See the full document here

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