Asia-Pacific ClimateScapes: Exploring opportunities, challenges and trade-offs toward just transitions for decarbonisation

Peter Howson, Rini Astuti, Oliver Hensengerth, Sara Kindon

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The purpose of this report is to provide background context to decarbonisation strategies across the Asia-Pacific region. By reviewing existing policies and stakeholder interests, whilst zooming-in on particular case studies, we provide recommendations for promoting just transitions to sustainability. We also highlight the challenges and trade-offs in fulfilling decarbonisation objectives regionally. We adopt a multi-landscape approach and regional political ecology to consider the intersecting social, political, and economic challenges towards decarbonisation across interconnected work packages, these include: 1) RiverScapes, 2) ForestScapes, and 3) OceanScapes.

Our feminist political ecology research and case-driven ethnographic methods challenge the dominant geopolitical narratives orbiting regional commitments to decarbonisation, and ideas of just transitions. Our empirical data draws on a combination of qualitative, ethnographic methods, placing the research teams inside participants’ homes, kitchens, fields, plantations and fishing boats. From these vantage points we were able to observe the range of performances which were enacted by women and men in relation to each other and their families and neighbours, as they utilised various props and intermediaries. We were also able to focus on intimate relationships that might otherwise be ignored, and to ask questions that might otherwise be overlooked.

While much effort has been made to understand the social-ecological implications of clean energy transitions in the region, we understand decarbonisation as both the technical and political measures for mitigating anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Such measures include market-based, performance-based, and community-based approaches. Using the multi-landscape approach, we set out to understand the tolerable costs and benefits of decarbonisation for peoples dependent on these landscapes. What should these costs and benefits look like and for whom? How can decarbonisation policies speak to alternative knowledge-claims and be decolonising? How can such initiatives build local capacities and capabilities for climate change adaptation, mitigation and resilience? Responding to these social and environmental justice issues is integral to developing solutions that simultaneously address the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and growing inequality.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBritish Academy
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2022


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