Clean Energy Agenda Must Look Beyond 2012, Seminar Told

May. 07, 2007

THE CLEAN energy agenda must move beyond the close of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 to manage the threat of climate change, a seminar audience heard today in Kyoto.

Given Asia’s phenomenal growth, its energy and development agenda has become a matter of global attention, ADB Vice-President Ursula Schaefer-Preuss said at a seminar on Clean Energy and Environment: Building on Kyoto at ADB’s 40th Annual Meeting.

It is particularly appropriate that we discuss this subject in the home of the Kyoto Protocol, she told the audience. We must move the clean energy agenda forward, beyond 2012, to manage climate change, so that future generations can continue to enjoy the life we take for granted.

The Vice-President said that the key question was how to support Asia’s economic growth while addressing the global concern of climate change. She pointed out that to meet the continued rise in energy consumption in the region, Asia must invest more than $6 trillion in new energy infrastructure, mostly in the power sector, by 2030.

This is a formidable challenge which requires multiple solutions, she said.

Ms. Schaefer-Preuss said there were various options, including pursuing energy efficiency, promoting the use of well-designed mass transit systems, accelerating development and commercialization of renewable energy technology, and cleaning up older polluting processes through new technologies.

In addition, there are mechanisms to put a price on carbon, such as through a cap-and-trade system like that of the Kyoto Protocol or a carbon emission tax.

Seminar panelist Gerd Leipold, International Executive Director of Greenpeace International, said that nothing short of a revolution is needed to address climate change.

Lets get down to an energy revolution of which ADB can and must be a leader in Asia, he said.

The technologies are mature and competitive, and the developing countries in the region need support to create a renewables market, he said. The time for funding fossil projects is over.

The seminar featured an array of eminent experts working on energy and environmental issues. Giving the keynote speech was Fumio Sameshima, Chairman, of the Committee on Environment and Safety of Nippon Keidanren, who presented on the energy issues facing Japan.

A paper presented on behalf of Mohamed El-Ashry, former head of the Global Environment Facility, asserted that the new energy era requires global action and cooperation to address growing concerns over energy security, climate change, and access by the poor to modern energy services.

Mr. El-Ashry stressed that in the absence of new policies by governments and international financial institutions, the world energy needs will be almost 60% higher in 2030 than they are now and, with most of this supplied by fossil fuels, CO2 emissions will also increase at about the same rate.

Business, investors, activists, and scientists alone cannot change the way we produce and use energy, he said.

These groups can anticipate change; they can facilitate it; they will profit from it, but they cannot drive it. Public policies that create markets, remove barriers, level the playing field, and establish clear objectives and targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency help shape the future.

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