Low-carbon emission development in Asia: energy sector, waste management and environmental management system


Mitigation of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions is desirable without compromising the economic growth. This paper reviews the recent trends to mitigate GHG emissions in the key sectors of energy and solid waste. The energy sector is the key admitter for global GHG emissions, and a range of optimisation and modelling tool has been developed to minimise the GHG emissions and overall cost, especially for the implementation of renewable energies such as biofuel and biogas. A few carbon sequestration technologies such as the carbon capture and storage (CCS) and biochar application have been reviewed. The review included the challenges and knowledge gaps regarding the utilisation of CCS, such as the storage capacity, long-term policy framework, high costs and the potential risk. Although solid waste contributes about < 5% of the global GHG emissions, effective solid waste management remained a great challenge in many fast-growing cities in Asia. Considering the high organic portion (> 40%) in the municipal solid waste for many developing countries in Asia, composting has been proposed as a viable treatment technology to convert waste-to-wealth. A range of waste management tools, including scenario analyses on different waste technologies, optimisation of waste collection routes, multi-criteria decision tools, is reviewed to support the decision-making for solid waste management. A range of environmental management system (EMS) has been adopted by organisations to improve product quality, reducing production cost and improves reputation of firms. An environmental policy such as tax exemption could be helpful to promote the adoption of EMS that could be costly. CO2 and material flow footprint tools, such as water–energy–materials nexus, are applicable at a city and regional level. The tools are used to mitigate GHG emissions by developing the mechanisms with shared markets of virtual resource flows (carbon, water, food, energy) between the trading partners regionally and internationally.

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Fig. 1

Adapted from Olivier et al. (2017)

Fig. 2

Adapted from BP (2017)


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The authors acknowledge research grants from the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) Malaysia with Grant Nos. S.J130000.0846.4Y042 and Q.J130000.2546.15H25; and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Research University Grant No. Q.J130000.2546.14H65; and the EU project Sustainable Process Integration Laboratory—SPIL, Project No. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000456, funded by Czech Republic Operational Programme Research, Development and Education, Priority 1: Strengthening capacity for quality research, in a collaboration agreement with UTM.

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Lee, C.T., Mohammad Rozali, N.E., Van Fan, Y. et al. Low-carbon emission development in Asia: energy sector, waste management and environmental management system. Clean Techn Environ Policy 20, 443–449 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10098-018-1512-8

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  • Greenhouse gases emissions
  • Energy sector
  • Solid waste management
  • Environmental management system