The Futures of Low-Carbon Society: Climate Change and Strategy for Economies in APEC Beyond 2050
Human societies have always been climate dependent, but we are only now coming to grips with the fact that our climate also depends on us. As the second decade of the 21st century gets underway, we now recognize that we are faced with two challenges created by our ever-increasing emissions of greenhouse gases. First, the atmosphere is warming, setting the stage for a host of problems from droughts, extreme weather events, coastal erosion and inundation, to which we have to adapt. And second, we must begin implementing strategies to slow down our greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the scale of these impacts while putting in place corresponding adaptation measures.
These challenges are particularly problematic for countries and economies in the Asia Pacific. On the one hand, the region is slated to face some of the greatest climate related impacts relative to other regions of the world. On the other, developing economies in the region will see substantial expansions of their middle classes and the greenhouse gas emissions their lifestyles generate.
The future scenario(s) aimed to illustrate how social, economical and political demand could be harnessed to move the Asia Pacific along a path toward putting far less carbon into the atmosphere by 2050. Science and technology development, including technology transfer, that respond to such demand was seen a key driver of this transition and thus was a major focus of the project. The future scenarios and policy recommendations developed from this project were meant to reflect the economic and social conditions among APEC economies and be consistent with their common but differentiated responsibilities and capabilities. While the project’s main focus was on longer-term perspectives, recommendations were to be developed for APEC and member economies that spell out short-term actions that could be taken to more quickly reduce the region’s carbon