We, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and our allied networks, are writing to state our unequivocal opposition to the continued support of the Asian Development Bank on waste incinerators with energy recovery or waste-to-energy (WTE). The proposed policy is inconsistent with the directives of the IPCC to limit or return global mean warming below 1.5°C in synergy with achieving a more sustainable and equitable society. It is not offering a transformational road for the region.
In the first round of stakeholders’ submission1, we have laid out an elaborate discussion and suggested policy languages based on IPCC’s recommended framework for assessing feasibility of adaptation and mitigation options for accelerated transition aligned with 1.5°C pathways. The six feasibility dimensions as guiding criteria include mitigation indicators such as cost-effectiveness, employment and productivity enhancement potential, simplicity, absence of risk, political acceptability, legal and administrative feasibility, institutional capacity, transparency and accountability potential, social co benefits, social and regional inclusiveness, intergenerational equity, human capabilities, reduction of air pollution, reduction of toxic waste, reduction of water use, improved biodiversity, and limited use of scarce geophysical resources.2 This approach to choosing policy options for accelerated transition demonstrates the inseparability of climate-related, environmental, and social factors.
However, the revised draft is close to committing to “business-as-usual” energy solutions in the name of the low-carbon transition. It is our belief that the ADB must take firm leadership in making sure that development investments contribute to a green, resilient, and just recovery. In a region where half of its waste is wet waste, thousands depend on recycling for jobs, have weak financial, technical and institutional capacity to govern the risks emanating from WTE, and are still struggling to curb a global pandemic — ADB should find the use of burn technologies inappropriate and unethical in the road to low carbon transition.