MANILA – Economies in Southeast Asia including the Philippines can create up to 30 million new jobs through 2030 if they invest more in green growth opportunities, according to the Asian Development Bank.
ADB said in a report that countries in the region should pursue "green opportunities in agriculture, oceans, urban and transport systems, circular economy practices, and clean energy" which the bank said has the potential to create 30 million jobs.
At a webinar during the 54th Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors, ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada, said governments can also focus on improving their digital economy to enable green and more inclusive growth.
"Governments can help upgrade digital infrastructure in order to make internet access more accessible and affordable and also for microenterprises to be included in digital transformation," Sawada explained, "Fair competition policy will play a key role especially for micro and small and medium-sized enterprises."
He said, around $1.7 trillion of economic gains can be unlocked in the region by fast-tracking digitalization as well as generate 65 million new jobs.
Meanwhile, Era Dabla-Norris, Division Chief for the Asia-Pacific Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said, governments can also push for higher carbon taxes to accelerate the shift to greener sources of energy.
While the impact of higher levies on carbon emissions vary across nations, Norris explained, "a carbon tax, if implemented, would be moderately regressive, in other words it would disproportionately be borne by the poor in China and in Mongolia. But it would be moderately progressive, in other words, be disproportionately borne by the rich in India and the Philippines."
An IMF study shows, with a $75 per ton carbon tax, the Philippines could lessen carbon emissions by up to 30 percent, placing it near its 2020 pledge to lower emissions by about 35 percent.
Norris also proposed several policies that can soften the blow of potentially higher energy prices that may be caused by the bigger carbon tax.
"For instance, displaced workers that are employed in the affected sectors could be supported by extending unemployment benefits or via retraining and reemployment type of services," Norris said.
"Higher public spending, for instance, on clean public infrastructure can actually be job-rich and will result in net new job creation in low-carbon sectors."
Earlier, Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III urged developed nations to honor their pledges under the Paris agreement, wherein they'll support lower-income nations in their transition to a more sustainable economy.
As part of the Paris outcome, developed countries are urged to scale up their level of support by mobilizing $100 billion per year starting 2020 for climate action for developing nations.