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Liu Shijin

Eco-solutions for a sustainable Asia

2015-12-09

2nd December, 2015

Author: Yongsheng Zhang, DRC

Asia is a big family that varies across and within its regions, with a plethora of systems all bumping against one another. But one thing Asia's constituents have in common is the challenge posed by the transition to green growth. That challenge also presents enormous opportunities.

Since the industrial revolution, global material wealth has dramatically expanded. Though the development paradigm has brought prosperity, it has caused severe environmental consequences, including climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. The existing development paradigm is not just environmentally unsustainable and infeasible, but also appears removed from the ultimate purpose of development — happiness.

Unfortunately, the development path of industrial countries — and the lifestyle that goes with it — is treated by most developing countries as not only a target but also the law of economic development they must follow. But Asia needs to fundamentally rethink whether such a development paradigm should be the target of their modernisation.

As the world faces global environmental crises, it's no longer a matter of whether to take up green development but how. Emerging economies are no longer able to achieve the established pathway towards economic development, and developed countries need to accelerate the shift towards green economies.

Can Asian economies — especially the poor economies — achieve prosperity through green growth? The answer is yes, but it depends on whether they understand what green growth is about and how to seize its opportunities. Green growth is not just an issue of energy preservation, emission reductions and renewable energy, but also a comprehensive and profound transformation of the development paradigm.

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