Last week a top member of the United Nations called Asia-Pacific countries to change their mode of economic growth in order to decrease the threat that the current one might lead to. If it was to continue, a growth at this rate might seriously endanger the countries themselves.
The threats are mainly due to the depletion of natural resources such as forests or water, or to pollution. The increasing population also leads to additional pressures on the environment. Historically, economic growth is also correlated to a bigger energy consumption. The speed of the witnessed phenomenon makes that it is difficult for locals to implement mechanisms of sustainable growth.
According to the UN News Centre :
“A recent UNESCAP report warns that Asia and the Pacific is already living beyond its ecological carrying capacity and to ensure continuing economic growth the agency says countries in the region will have to move away from the current ‘grow first, clean up later’ mentality and embrace a “Green Growth” model.”
An important part of the energy generation of the Asian region comes from coal, the most polluting energy source. As a matter of facts, according to the BP Statistical Review, coal accounts there for around 50 percent of the primary energy source. Concerning oil, the second most polluting energy source, it accounts for more than 30 percent.
Clean energy sources like nuclear or renewable energies play only a slight part in this region of the world. To counter these bad omen, the United nations advocated :
“Green Growth is also about seeing environmental protection and clean production not as a cost or burden, but as an investment and it entails actively promoting business opportunities in such activities, as well as making the tax system favourable to environmental-friendly projects.”
As we saw with the articles on China or Hong Kong, a strong and fast economic development is generally contrary to a sustainable growth. Energy consumption grows fast, and the answer to the energy needs is often coal. Indeed this energy source is found easily in this region of the world and its extraction is cheap.
To me, Western countries can also sell clean technologies to Asia and hence can benefit even more from the huge economic growth seen there. The Asia Pacific region is hence due to have a growth expected to be 7.3 percent this year.
To infer this article, I would like to say that Asia can truly masters its growth in a sustainable way if it was to give itself the means to.