Asia's Response to Climate Change and Natural Disasters
July 16, 2010
This new report by energy, regional, and humanitarian disaster specialists at CSIS examines the politics of climate change in Asia, the region’s response to natural disasters, and the implications for the future geometry of Asia’s institutions and U.S. policy in the region. The assessment looks broadly at two areas of nontraditional security cooperation in Asia: (1) climate change, including the domestic political factors in Asia and the regional strategies for securing low-carbon pathways; and (2) regional approaches to disaster management. The volume draws on case studies to assess the utility of existing and emerging institutions—the promises as well as the problems—as the United States and the region seek greater cooperation on both traditional and nontraditional security challenges. The authors discuss the problems related to lack of coordination at different levels, the uncertain role of the military, and continuing gaps in resources and expertise in key organizations.
Looking ahead, the authors conclude that the United States will continue to play a critical role in supporting the region’s response to many of the natural disasters it will face. They also recommend that the United States seek to focus Asia’s attention on the long-term threat of climate change and other slow-onset disasters. As the authors explain, not only is the region expected to be a major victim of the consequences of climate change, it is a source of the threat itself. They recommend that the United States continue its bilateral and multilateral programs to increase energy efficiency and the use of alternative energy and clean-coal technology and that it also begin to explore broad, secure, low-carbon pathways within the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.