The Covid-19 pandemic brings blessings in disguise into the climate. As movements being restricted, several big cities experienced cleaner air, and tourism sites have seen a recovery in the damaged environment. The efforts in restoring domestic ecosystem are
also observed in the ASEAN countries.
However, climate action should be handled in a justified manner by all countries. The mitigation does not only involve the environment sector, but also the energy sectors such as transportation and industry.
The year 2020 coincides with the five-year cycle of Paris Agreement. As countries rushed in updating Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), the low carbon development in Southeast Asia also took some good progress.
Indeed, the pandemic has slowed the economic activities worldwide, which directly affected the significant contraction in terms of economic growth. This slowdown might become new challenges for some countries that have set their target on Electric Vehicle (EV) deployment, but in the other hand, early mass adoption of the low-carbon vehicle is also has been a thing to be implemented in some countries.
The global transition towards net-zero economy would pose growing risks to companies with fossil fuel assets of being stranded. Meantime, this change could bring a great opportunity, specifically to the financial institutions, if the investment policy is enhanced to facilitate new business models towards decarbonising ASEAN economy.
With a clearer view of the end of the pandemic, climate efforts supported by green recovery can take place in the direction of ASEAN’s future policies. Phasing out the use of coal and increasing the adoption of EVs may be critical issues that need to be pursued immediately. If not, cleaner air and environment might not be what the pandemic brings to us.