ADBI Working Paper Series
The Asia-Pacific region is witnessing rapid economic growth. Along with rising incomes, the lifestyles of the large middle class are moving quickly towards a buy-and-discard consumer model that involves carbon-intensive products and services. These increase dependency on the Earth’s finite natural resources and simultaneously produces waste, putting a significant strain on the environment. Such lifestyles, coupled with scarce resources and frequent natural hazards associated with climate change, pose serious threats to the future of the planet. Developed countries with high footprint per capita are under pressure to adjust their lifestyles that respect the Earths’ carrying capacity. As far as countries in the Asia and Pacific region are concerned, mere technological solutions such as improving production efficiency will not be adequate to address climate change; a paradigm shift to more resource-efficient and low-carbon lifestyles, that promote inclusive and efficient consumption is the need of the hour. Several examples of good practices and community initiatives can be found around the world, but these have yet to be brought to the mainstream in order to achieve tangible results. Governments and policy makers in the Asia-Pacific can join hands with businesses and civil society to accelerate this transition—from a consumption-oriented economic paradigm, to a more sustainable way of production and consumption. This paper attempts to identify lifestyle changes at the individual level, and behavioral changes at the community level that could offer high carbon abatement potential. It also provides some good practices of public policies and policy recommendations that can be pivotal in making a business case of low-carbon and eco-efficient lifestyles, strengthening collective awareness, and influencing public decision-making in developing countries in Asia.