Vail Symposium: What will Asia’s rise cost the Earth? |

Vail Symposium: What will Asia’s rise cost the Earth?

Special to the DailySimon Tay, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, will speak in Vail, Colorado Thursday

VAIL, Colorado ” On Thursday, the Vail Symposium will host a discussion by Simon Tay of the Asia Society.

Tay will focus on the impact that Asia’s development will have on the world’s resources. This final talk of the Vail Symposium’s Winter Hot Topics series will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Arrabelle at Vail Square.

When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made her first diplomatic mission to Asia in February, she sent a strong message that global warming is at the center of U.S. foreign policy “-a fundamental departure from the Bush administration’s agenda.

“What we hope is that you won’t make the same mistakes we made, because I don’t think either China or the world can afford that,” Clinton said. While the White House has yet to clarify what it wants from China in terms of reducing emissions, a dialogue has begun.

Tay is optimistic about future dialogue between the United States, China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Up until now, he described relations under the Kyoto Protocol as “a dialogue between the deaf and the dumb” because of big differences between how rich and poor nations fight climate change. Poorer nations will not commit to emissions curbs unless rich countries do much more to rein in carbon pollution and pay for clean-energy technologies.

Developing nations now emit more than half of the world’s greenhouse gas pollution, according to a recent Global Carbon Project report. Asia has three of the world’s top five emitters of greenhouse gases: Japan, India and China. For the first time, China has caught up with the United States in greenhouse gas emissions.

“Asia needs to wake up to the threat of global warming and take a leading role in climate change negotiations or risk having rich nations dictate policies to curb carbon emissions,” Tay said. “Asia must be included in a way that is acceptable to them and that reaffirms the linkages between growth and protecting the environment.”

That can be achieved only when developing nations see that the core benefits are for themselves, not just for Europe and America.

“They need to assess their own vulnerabilities, such as dwindling resources, severe weather, and air pollution, for example,” Tay continued.

Tay will survey the climate change challenge, the economic impact and other major environmental concerns in Asia, and address which paths will lead us towards sustainable development.

Tay is chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, a non-governmental think tank that represents Singapore in the influential ASEAN-ISIS network of regional think tanks. Tay, who has degrees from the National University of Singapore and Harvard, teaches international law at the National University of Singapore. He served on Singapore’s Parliament and is an Asia Society international council member.

Call the Vail Symposium office at 970-476-0954 to inquire about or sign up for a program, or visit to view complete descriptions for all programs.

What: Vail Symposium Hot Topic with Simon Tay

Where: Arrabelle at Vail Square in Lionshead

When: 5:30 to 6 p.m. meet and greet, 6 to 7:15 lecture, Thursday

Cost: $25 or $20 for Vail Symposium donors. Bring a friend for free. Complimentary appetizers and cash bar.

More information: Reservations are recommended. Call Vail Symposium at 970-476-0954 or sign up at

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