Transport connectivity, cheap ICT access touted as climate-resiliency tools

GREATER TRANSPORT connectivity and access to information and communications technology (ICT) have roles to play in mitigating climate risk in the Asia-Pacific, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said.

In a recent report, ESCAP said: “Improved multimodal transport connectivity, for example, can reduce trade costs, enhance efficiency and competitiveness of doing business, and allow for the use of more environmentally friendly modes of transport.”

The report said affordable access to the internet and ICT infrastructures is also “essential to shaping an inclusive digital future and achieving sustainable development goals.”

ESCAP said Low Earth Orbital satellites, such as those operated by Starlink, a product of SpaceX Corp., could be one path to affordable access.

“The government of the Philippines believes that Starlink can provide reliable access to the internet, especially in rural areas susceptible to natural disasters, by mid-2023,” ESCAP said.

The report also noted the importance of mobilizing more investment in regional cross-border infrastructure and national grids.

“In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, India and the Philippines, among others, have successfully managed private-sector investment in electric power networks. The investments in these countries are based on financial models that quantify the expected return and associated risk,” it added.

It added that power system connectivity can improve access to energy and mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the deployment and integration of renewable energy resources.

ESCAP also noted the proposed regional power grid in Southeast Asia, which would “fully integrate the power systems of all member countries and accordingly take advantage of the region’s diverse allocation of energy resources.”

“The interconnections would reduce the costs of power systems through economies of scale and shared investments,” it said. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson