Asia Pacific remains the largest CO2 emitter in the world, as rapid economic development and growing energy demand contribute to high consumption. Despite having huge potential for renewable energy sources, the region is still heavily dependent on coal and natural gas. High pollution levels and climate change are leading to a deterioration in biodiversity, with the number of threatened species growing every year. The region also faces an increase in number and severity of natural disasters.
Due to climate change, the severity and intensity of natural disasters that affect Asia Pacific is growing. Regional countries are struggling to adapt to the rapid change, and thus increasingly lack coping capacity to safely withstand adverse natural events. The adverse climate is also threatening agriculture and food security, as well as water availability.
Asia Pacific is rich in fossil fuel reserves, especially coal, but some countries still struggle to ensure universal access to energy supply. To sustain its fast-paced growth in energy demand, the region is projected to further increase its renewable capacity. China is already leading in terms of global renewable capacity growth.
The region remains the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, and levels of carbon emissions have been rising, as demand for energy is increasing and coal power plants remain prevalent. Furthermore, growing demand for meat and rice is contributing to growth in methane emissions.
Most countries in Asia Pacific remain among the bottom half of countries globally in terms of forest and biodiversity protection, as the share of protected land areas remain insufficient, biodiversity loss is growing, and marine protection is stagnating.
With rapid population growth, increasing demand for water and depleting renewable water resources, Asia Pacific is failing to ensure universal access to water, and water shortages are growing. Moreover, political tensions remain high between water-strained countries in the region.
With vast agricultural areas, some Asia Pacific countries are among the largest agricultural producers globally; however, due to the health crisis in 2020, poverty and expenditure on food increased, limiting food availability.
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