News Release - 7 December 2009

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda marked the beginning of climate change talks in Copenhagen by noting how vital it is for the Asia and Pacific region and the rest of the world that the international community reach an ambitious and equitable agreement to confront "the most pressing environmental challenge of our time."

"The extraordinary gathering of world leaders in Denmark attests to the international community's resolve to collectively address the issue of human-induced climate change," said Mr. Kuroda.

"The outcome in Copenhagen and beyond is extremely important for the countries of Asia and the Pacific since their development is threatened by climate change and they must adjust their economies to the realities of a carbon-constrained world."

More than 20,000 government leaders, policymakers, private sector and civil society experts from around the world began gathering in Copenhagen today for the start of UN negotiations on a new global agreement to combat climate change.

ADB is hosting a range of events in Copenhagen aimed at informing the discussions and highlighting what Mr. Kuroda described as the Asia and Pacific region's high vulnerability to climate change and its pivotal role in curbing future greenhouse gas emissions. While per capita emissions in the region are currently low, as economies grow and incomes rise, the vast majority of new global emissions will emanate from its vehicles, power plants and disappearing forests. Developing Asia's share of global emissions could easily top 40 percent by 2030.

Recent studies funded by the ADB show that climate change poses fundamental threats to Asia's agriculture and energy security which, if left unchecked, will threaten the livelihoods of over two billion people.

The ADB delegation to Copenhagen will include specialists from a number of technical areas - such as transport, carbon market financing, forest management, oceans and river basins. Key ADB sessions in Copenhagen will include two side events (7 and 10 December) co-hosted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

An ADB seminar (13 December), entitled "Responding to Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific", and an ADB press conference (15 December) will present on how Asia and the Pacific can balance continued domestic economic growth with addressing global climate concerns.