Climate Action & Sustainability: Advantage in Adversity

Dave Sivaprasad Jaime Ruiz-Cabrero Marc Schmidt Stefanie Khaw Anis Mohd Nor Alison Sander

Climate change and increasing human impact on our environment have been extensively debated throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Many countries around the globe have applied some level of “green policy” to their economic recovery responses. Some have set bold ambitions and deployed substantial resources toward low-carbon investments and scaling emerging technologies. Others have applied more modest green measures such as expediting already planned renewable projects and using large-scale tree planting programs as an initiative to get people back to work.

Southeast Asia is predicted to experience some of the more severe impacts of climate change. Rising sea levels, extreme weather events, worsening air quality, and higher temperatures impacting populations represent some of the more direct effects. The region is likely to face more complex systemic impacts such as climate migration, increased incidence of tropical disease, and water and food system stresses.

Southeast Asia is facing a pivotal moment, with the pressure to reframe its climate commitments from a pathway of necessity, to a route of informed choice. Now is the time to examine how Southeast Asia can create competitive advantage by acting on sustainability and climate change proactively. The question is not whether we should pursue a green recovery. The question we need to ask now is “where should we start, and how fast should we go?”