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Climate change is a shift in our planet’s weather and climate systems that brings about increasing average temperatures and more erratic weather events, rising seas, changes inhabitats and wildlife, and a myriad of other impacts. Understanding the implications and likelihood of climate change impacts on natural and human systems in the Asia-Pacific region is important for developing strategies to safeguard the region against environmental, social and economic perturbations.

  • Nature-based climate solutions for expanding the global protected area network

    Rachakonda Sreekar, Yiwen Zeng, Qiming Zheng, Aakash Lamba, Hoong Chen Teo, Tasya Vadya Sarira, Lian Pin Koh
    Biological Conservation

    Protected areas (including other effective area-based conservation measures) are a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation. Many countries are increasingly committed to expanding protected area coverage to 30%, which requires an increase in global annual spending from $24b to ~$140b (between $103b and $177b). Our results point to the largely untapped potential of nature-based climate solutions to accelerate protected area expansion, thereby conserving biodiversity and mitigating climate change.

    Published May 2022
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  • Are carbon offsets the key to green cryptocurrencies?

    Aakash Lamba
    PLOS Sustainability and Transformation

    Cryptocurrencies have seen a meteoric rise in their adoption and value over the past decade. However, the massive energy consumption of mining cryptocurrencies and consequently their carbon footprint is a significant environmental concern. Studies suggest that the annual carbon emissions from the Bitcoin network alone could potentially exceed 90 MtCO2e, which surpasses the total carbon footprint of some of the most populous cities in the world including Beijing, Sao Paulo and New Delhi. Due to the significant constraints that limit the future decarbonization of this sector, connecting cryptocurrencies to carbon offsets is arguably the most practical approach for mitigating their climate impact.

    Published March 2022
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  • Economic value of illegal wildlife trade entering the USA

    Jia Hao Tow, William S. Symes, Luis Roman Carrasco
    PLoS ONE

    Illegal wildlife trade is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. Understanding its economic value is a first step to establishing the magnitude of the problem. This paper develops a dataset of illegal wildlife trade prices and combine it with seizure data to estimate the economic value of illegal wildlife trade entering the USA.

    Published October 2021
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  • Global potential and limits of mangrove blue carbon for climate change mitigation

    Yiwen Zeng, Daniel A.Friess, Tasya Vadya Sarira, Kelly Siman, Lian Pin Koh
    Current Biology

    Despite the outsized role of mangrove forests in sustaining biodiversity, ecosystem function, and local livelihoods, the protection of these vital habitats through blue carbon financing has been limited. This paper quantifies the extent of this missed conservation and financial opportunity, showing that the protection of ∼20% of the world’s mangrove forests (2.6 Mha) can be funded through carbon financing.

    Published April 2021
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  • Carbon prospecting in tropical forests for climate change mitigation

    Lian Pin Koh, Yiwen Zeng, Tasya Vadya Sarira, Kelly Siman
    Nature Communications

    Carbon finance projects that protect tropical forests could support both nature conservation and climate change mitigation goals. Global demand for nature-based carbon credits is outpacing their supply, due partly to gaps in knowledge needed to inform and prioritize investment decisions. This paper shows that at current carbon market prices the protection of tropical forests can generate investible carbon amounting to 1.8 (±1.1) GtCO2e yr−1 globally, and financially viable carbon projects could generate return-on-investment amounting to $46.0b y−1 in net present value. However, ~80% (1.24 billion ha) of forest carbon sites would be financially unviable for failing to break even over the project lifetime. From a conservation perspective, unless carbon prices increase in the future, it is imperative to implement other conservation interventions, in addition to carbon finance, to safeguard carbon stocks and biodiversity in vulnerable forests.

    Published February 2021
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