Assessing the implications of a global net-zero transition for developing Asia: insights from integrated assessment modeling

This paper uses a global integrated assessment model to assess how developing Asia, the world’s fastest-growing source of carbon emissions, could transition to low-carbon growth. It finds that national net-zero pledges do not have a high chance of keeping peak warming below 2°C. Under an efficient approach to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, the power sector would almost fully decarbonize by mid-century, and emissions from land use would strongly fall. Although the climate has a lagged response to emissions reductions, climate benefits outweigh costs by a factor of 3, with gains concentrated in the lowest-income subregions of Asia. Air quality would also improve, saving about 0.35 million lives in the region by 2050. Including these co-benefits raises the benefit–cost ratio for Asia under ambitious decarbonization to 5. Energy-related employment also rises during the transition. However, appropriate policies are needed to address potential effects on disadvantaged groups.