Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2011
 
Environment
Air pollution and climate change
Data source: International Energy Agency (IEA); Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Indicators database; United Nations Environment Programme, Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR); World Bank, World Development Indicators; and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ, formerly GTZ), GTZ International Fuel Prices.

Rapid economic growth over the past 20 years, particularly in the larger economies, has been accompanied by increasing emissions of greenhouse gases and degradation of natural capital.

Economic growth in Asia and the Pacific depends on a growing use of energy resources, most of which being fossil fuels, that in turn has led to increasing emissions of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gas emissions fuel global climate change that translates into devastating impacts in the region, particularly for the poorest. The increased risk of climatic disasters such as floods, drought, and typhoons or cyclones, together with the possibility of reduced access to water and other natural resources, could undo decades of effort to eradicate poverty.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions

The rate of greenhouse gas emissions from the region has been growing since 1990, particularly in East and North-East Asia, where carbon emissions from China more than doubled between 2000 and 2008. Overall, between 2000 and 2008, emissions in Asia and the Pacific have been increasing almost twice as fast as the global average (5.4% change per annum as compared to 2.8%). The total emissions from the region in 2008 equalled almost half the world total as compared to 38% of the world total in 1990. On a per capita basis, the region-wide rate is still below the global average, although carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per unit of GDP are higher.

In 2008, China was the single largest emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide – emitting 6.5 billion tons of CO2 (0.4 billion tons more than all of North America). However, on a per-capita basis, North America emits 3.7 times more than China (China emits 4.9 tons per capita). Within the region, Brunei Darussalam is the highest emitter of greenhouse gases at 20 tons per capita of CO2, followed closely by Australia at 19 tons.

Fortunately, the carbon intensity, or amount of greenhouse gases emitted per unit of GDP, has been steadily falling in the Asia-Pacific region since 1990. Recently, a number of large carbonemitting economies in the region have instigated policies and reforms to reduce their CO2 intensity by improving energy efficiency in various sectors and increasing the use of renewable energy. China, India, Indonesia, Marshall Islands, Maldives, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Korea and Singapore have introduced voluntary targets to reduce CO2 emissions or reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.1 In addition, fuelled by volatile and high oil prices, domestic energy prices are changing which may reinforce policies to reduce carbon emission.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions

Nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas produced by agriculture, motor vehicles and other combustive sources, emissions have been rising steadily in Asia and the Pacific and globally as well. Asia and the Pacific contribute 43% of the global N2O emissions; on a per capita basis, the regional average is still lower than the global average.

Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions, which lead to acid rain and can harm human health, have increased in Asia and the Pacific in the last two decades. In the rest of the world, however, SO2 emissions have been decreasing on average, driven mainly by pollution-control measures in many developed countries. SO2 emissions are generally produced from the combustion of fossil fuels, particularly coal, and from some industrial processes such as petroleum and metal refining, metal smelting, and pulp and paper production. Therefore the most significant emissions from the region come from coal-burning developing countries; in particular China contributes 53% of the emissions in the region.

Figure II.1 – CO2 emissions, Asia-Pacific subregions and the rest of the world, 1990-2008

Figure II.1 – CO2 emissions, Asia-Pacific subregions and the rest of the world, 1990-2008

Figure II.2 – CO2 emissions per unit of GDP, Asia-Pacific subregions, 1990-2008

Figure II.2 – CO2 emissions per unit of GDP, Asia-Pacific subregions, 1990-2008

In a recent study2 on concentrations of air pollutants in Asian cities, 40% of the 213 surveyed cities showed annual average SO2 concentrations lower than half the WHO standard (20 μg per cubic metre as a 24-hour mean) and signs of a marked decrease in SO2 between 1993 and 2000. The study also found that for 24% of the cities, the annual average SO2 concentrations exceeded the WHO 24-hour standard. Unfortunately, since 2001, emissions have begun to rise.

Figure II.3 – Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions, Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world, 1990-2005

Figure II.3 – Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions, Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world, 1990-2005

Concentrations of particulate matter (PM10)

Concentrations of particulate matter (PM10) in Asian and Pacific cities remain one of the most problematic of local air-pollution issues and are higher than the global average, although from 1990 to 2006 PM10 concentrations declined by 38%. As PM10 refers to particulate matter that is less than 10 microns in size, the small size of the particles increases the risk of their becoming embedded in the lungs and throat when inhaled, leading to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The annual average of PM10 concentrations in 230 cities between 1993 and 2008 was 3 times the recommended WHO standard (20 μg per cubic metre, annual mean).2 Moreover, the annual average PM10 concentration in the 230 cities monitored in 2008 was 4.5 times the WHO standard, at 89.5 micrograms per cubic metre.

Figure II.4 – Concentration of particulate matter (PM10) in urban areas, Asia and the Pacific and the world, 1990-2006

Figure II.4 – Concentration of particulate matter (PM10) in urban areas, Asia and the Pacific and the world, 1990-2006

Ozone

Ozone is a concern for two reasons: the depletion of ozone in the stratosphere and ground level ozone as a pollutant. In the stratosphere, ozone protects living organisms from the sun’s radiation, but ozone depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have had significant impacts on depleting the stratospheric ozone layer for a number of years. Fortunately, global environmental agreements have led to significant reductions in the use of ozone-depleting substances, from a regional average of 70 grams per capita in 1995 to just 7.8 in 2008. The consumption of ozone-depleting substances per unit of GDP has been even more dramatic, dropping across the region from 41 grams per PPP$1,000 (2005 prices) in 1990 to just 1.4 in 2008.

Ground-level ozone is a local pollutant formed primarily from a complex series of chemical reactions in cities among air pollutants produced by motor vehicles and industry, in particular hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. The impact of ozone smog on human health includes respiratory problems. Unfortunately, this substance is not sufficiently monitored in many countries and data is lacking in this regard.

Fuel prices, subsidies and taxes

Subsidizing fossil fuels obstructs efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emission and improve efficiency of energy use. For effective action against climate change, environmental cost would be incorporated into the market price of the natural resources used, such as fossil fuels. Climate change concerns and rising fuel prices have lead Governments to reduce subsidies and even increase taxes on fuels. The impacts of these measures are difficult to determine as projections on emissions, had subsidies remained, are difficult to develop.

Subsidies are considered by many to be important social protection means, but they often benefit the more affluent instead of the poorest as the poor only benefit from a fraction of the public expenditure on the subsidy. For example, in Indonesia 70% of the fuel subsidies benefited 40% of high-income families, while 40% of the lowest-income families utilized only 15% of the subsidy.3

The GIZ publication International Fuel Prices,4 show how subsidies were removed in many countries between 2004 and 2006, but were reintroduced in some by 2008 even with the oil price peak of that year. In Indonesia, 4% of the GDP or almost 20% of the central governmental budget was being spent on fuel subsidies after a 27.7% fuel-price rise in 2008.5 At the same time, the Indonesian Government introduced a series of social protection policies that included direct cash assistance for 19 million families along with a food subsidy programme, an extension of a low-income rice distribution programme, funding support for children’s education and a subsidized increase for low-scale credit facilities.

Retail fuel prices
 
Diesel
Super gasoline
US cents per litre
US cents per litre
1998
2000
2002
2004
2006
2008
1998
2000
2002
2004
2006
2008
East and North-East Asia
China
25
45
37
43
61
101
28
40
42
48
69
99
DPR Korea
41
35
41
61
79
95
73
55
55
78
71
76
Hong Kong, China
85
80
77
100
106
116
136
146
147
154
169
195
Japan
69
76
66
95
90
130
102
106
91
126
109
142
Macao, China
51
50
 
 
102
 
74
73
 
 
117
 
Mongolia
22
38
37
67
87
142
23
38
38
61
88
138
Republic of Korea
41
66
64
95
133
140
93
92
109
135
165
151
South-East Asia
Brunei Darussalam
18
18
18
19
21
21
34
31
30
32
34
38
Cambodia
28
44
44
61
78
89
47
61
63
79
101
94
Indonesia
7
6
19
18
44
42
16
17
27
27
57
50
Lao PDR
24
32
30
48
73
76
31
41
36
54
86
92
Malaysia
17
16
19
22
40
53
28
28
35
37
53
53
Myanmar
12
12
28
10
75
52
13
33
36
12
66
43
Philippines
22
28
27
34
67
81
34
37
35
52
76
91
Singapore
36
38
38
55
63
90
72
84
85
89
92
107
Thailand
27
35
32
37
65
64
30
39
36
54
70
87
Timor-Leste
 
 
 
65
88
135
 
 
 
65
98
122
Viet Nam
26
27
27
32
53
77
35
38
34
48
67
80
South and South-West Asia
Afghanistan
 
 
27
58
65
96
 
 
34
53
68
105
Bangladesh
26
29
29
34
45
70
47
46
52
59
79
117
Bhutan
26
38
 
59
 
 
59
58
 
78
 
91
India
21
39
41
62
75
70
56
60
66
87
101
109
Iran (Islamic Rep. of)
1
2
2
2
3
3
8
5
7
9
9
10
Maldives
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nepal
24
37
34
49
73
82
59
63
66
72
94
113
Pakistan
19
27
35
41
64
77
46
53
52
62
101
84
Sri Lanka
30
27
31
41
55
75
84
66
54
72
88
143
Turkey
47
66
78
112
162
163
78
88
102
144
188
187
North and Central Asia
Armenia
25
31
29
56
77
111
49
55
42
68
96
108
Azerbaijan
22
20
16
18
41
56
46
39
37
41
46
74
Georgia
25
 
41
67
89
116
46
 
48
73
86
109
Kazakhstan
24
29
29
38
45
72
30
36
35
52
70
83
Kyrgyzstan
27
33
25
43
54
88
47
44
39
48
64
80
Russian Federation
18
29
25
45
66
86
28
33
35
55
77
89
Tajikistan
13
55
24
59
74
100
26
45
36
67
80
103
Turkmenistan
5
2
1
1
1
20
9
2
2
2
2
22
Uzbekistan
9
9
26
30
54
75
11
14
38
35
85
135
Pacific
American Samoa
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Australia
45
57
48
83
94
94
46
57
50
85
93
74
Cook Islands
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fiji
37
 
 
73
94
104
50
 
 
91
107
115
French Polynesia
 
 
 
 
119
139
 
 
 
 
149
158
Guam
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kiribati
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Marshall Islands
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Micronesia (F.S.)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nauru
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
New Caledonia
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
New Zealand
39
34
33
41
70
85
64
48
55
77
98
109
Niue
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Northern Mariana Islands
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Palau
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Papua New Guinea
28
34
 
64
 
90
41
53
 
94
 
94
Samoa
 
 
 
 
82
 
 
 
 
 
81
 
Solomon Islands
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tonga
 
 
 
 
109
 
 
 
 
 
103
 
Tuvalu
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vanuatu
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Asia and the Pacific
LLDC                        
LDC                        
ASEAN                        
ECO                        
SAARC                        
Central Asia                        
Pacific island dev. econ.                        
Low income econ.                        
Lower middle income econ.                        
Upper middle income econ.                        
High income econ.                        
Africa                        
Europe                        
Latin America and Carib.                        
North America                        
Other countries/areas                        
World                        

Fuel prices, subsidies and taxes, selected Asian and Pacific countries and areas, 2004 and 2008
Fuel prices, subsidies and taxes, selected Asian and Pacific countries and areas, 2004
Fuel prices, subsidies and taxes, selected Asian and Pacific countries and areas, 2008Enlarge - Fuel prices, subsidies and taxes, selected Asian and Pacific countries and areas, 2004 and 2008

Fuel Taxation Category 1: Very High Fuel Subsidies

The retail price of fuel (average of Diesel and Super Gasoline) is below the price for crude oil on world market.

Fuel Taxation Category 2: Fuel Subsidies

The retail price of fuel is above the price for crude oil on world market and below the price level of the United States.

Note: The fuel prices of the United States are average cost-covering retail prices incl. Industry margin, VAT and incl. approx. US 10 cents for the 2 road funds (federal and state). This fuel price may be considered as the international minimum benchmark for a non-subsidised road transport policy.

Fuel Taxation Category 3: Fuel Taxation

The retail price of fuel is above the price level of the United States and below the price level of Spain.

Note: In November 2008, fuel prices in Spain were the lowest in EU-15. Prices in EU countries are subject to VAT, fuel taxes as well as other country-specific duties and taxes. Fuel Taxation Category 4: Very High Fuel Taxation The retail price of fuel is above the price level of Spain.


1 ESCAP, Preview Green Growth, Resources and Resilience, Environmental Sustainability in Asia and the Pacific, 2010. Available at: http://www.unescap.org/esd/environment/flagpubs/GGRAP/

2 Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) Center (2010). Air Quality in Asia: Status and Trends, 2010 Edition. Pasig City, Philippines.

3 Indonesia, Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, “Government explanation on the reduction of fuel subsidy and other related policies”, Oleh Administrator (Jakarta, 23 May 2008). Available from www.esdm.go.id/news/53-pressrelease/1757-government-explanation-on-the-reduction-of-fuelsubsidy-and-other-related-policies-.pdf.

4 Available from www.gtz.de/en/themen/29957.htm.

5 Tim Bulman, Wolfgang Fengler and Mohamad Ikhsan, “Indonesia’s oil subsidy opportunity”, Far Eastern Economic Review, vol. 171, No. 5 (7 June 2008).

 
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