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What will COP26 mean for Asian businesses?

The climate talks in Glasgow could have a major trickle-down effect on Asia's business community. What should the region's businesses expect from COP26? The Eco-Business Podcast asked energy and sustainability expert Malavika Bambawale.

The world’s leaders will gather in Glasgow, Scotland, next week for COP26 climate talks to thrash-out plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a bid to avoid calamitous global warming. 

As the world’s biggest polluter, Asia Pacific is under pressure to find ways to decouple economic growth from emissions growth, and make commitments to reduce the climate impact of rapidly emerging, energy-hungry economies such as China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

What can businesses in Asia expect from COP26, and what sort of impact will the negotiations have on an industrial sector that accounts for about 40 per cent of the region’s emissions.

One is climate finance. About a decade ago, wealthy nations pledged to help developing countries to adapt and mitigate climate change with US$100 billion in financing a year by 2020. The promised financing hasn’t materialised, but if it does, extra money towards mitigation and adapatation could help to reduce climate risk, protecting bottom lines.

Another is Article 6 of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which is designed to draw up rules on how countries can reduce their emissions using international carbon markets. It is the least accessible and complex part of the Paris accord, but one of the most important to reach an agreement on, and has major implications for businesses in Asia, particularly the big polluters.

If successful, Article 6 could help avoid dangerous levels of global warming. A failure to settle on the elusive mechanism could end up letting countries off the hook from making series emissions cuts.

There is a chicken-and-egg hesitation with net zero. Business does not like uncertainty. Right now, everyone is watching what the other is doing first. Because decarbonisation technologies are expensive.

Malavika Bambawale, managing director, Asia Pacific, sustainability solutions, Engie Impact

Joining the Eco-Business Podcast to talk about what COP26 means for Asian businesses is Malavika Bambawale, managing director, Asia Pacific, sustainability solutions, for sustainability and energy firm Engie Impact.

Tune in as we discuss:

  • What are the main themes to look out for at COP26?
  • Taxes, subsidies, and carbon markets
  • Asia’s “Chicken and egg hesitation”
  • The net-zero backlash
  • How can Asian businesses access climate finance?
  • The need for immediate climate action

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