Celebrating Earth Day 2021: Energy-Climate Actions to “Restore Our Earth”

By Zulfikar Yurnaidi

Thursday, 22 Apr 2021

The annual celebration of Earth Day started as early as 1970, when 20 million US citizens went to the street and called for better protection of the earth. It went global in 1990, and now it claimed to be able to engage 1 billion people in 190+ countries every year.

The year 2021, albeit still wounded from the ravages of COVID-19 pandemic, brought upon cautious optimism of green recovery. In line with that, 2021 Earth Day took “Restore Our Earth” as its theme. The pandemic might have brought fear to the heart of world citizens and crippled the economy, but it should also remind us about the looming climate crisis, and the necessity of working hand in hand to prevent it from happening.

This year’s Earth Day is also ‘celebrated’ by Joe Biden’s administration by convening the Leaders Summit on Climate. Inviting 40 world leaders, including the 17 countries responsible for approximately 80 percent of global emissions and global GDP, the event underpins the renewed commitment of USA to fight against climate crisis. As traditional leader of modern world, such step should bring optimism to climate actions, pressed to reach the so-called net zero by mid of the century.

In ASEAN, the climate community just got a good news from the Philippines, who recently submitted its first NDC to the UNFCCC, updating its emission reduction target to 75% by 2030. This follows the other five ASEAN countries, who updated their climate pledge in 2020. Complementing the mid-term targets, countries in the region also explored the ideas of net zero, such as Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

Crucial part of climate actions, pursuance of energy transition should be accelerated in the region. Success cases such as solar revolution in Vietnam should be scaled up, especially in reaching the regional target of 23% renewables in primary energy supply by 2030. Clean technologies such as electric vehicle and energy storage should be complemented with strong energy efficiency measures.

Through ASEAN Climate Change and Energy Project (ACCEPT), ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) plays critical role in bridging the energy and climate sectors, as per guidance of ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC). Fully realizing the role of media in energy transition, we have built strong rapport in dissemination and public awareness activities. These include webinars, audiovisual products, weekly news clipping, and monthly news highlights.

Elon Musk and other space engineers might have offered the ideas of Mars colony as a way out to ensure the survival of humanity. But the fact is, most of us—the 7 billion people and countless organisms—only have one earth to cling to, for hundreds of years to come. Let the Earth Day be a reminder of such fact. Have a green day, and here’s Google Doodle of the day.

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