With an energy crisis looming, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda has called on Asian nations to “take radical steps” to increase energy efficiency and invest in renewable energy.
Asia and the Pacific’s strong economic growth and its increasing population are generating the world’s fastest growing demand for energy. It is estimated that energy requirements in the region will double by 2030. If left unchecked, the lack of energy security may reverse the region’s hard-won gains in poverty reduction. Continued reliance on fossil fuels will also increase the threat of climate change, thus affecting millions of Asia’s poor and vulnerable through increased natural disasters and shortages in food and water.
“Asians have more to lose from climate change than any other people. The climate fight will be won or lost by decisions made in this region,” said Mr. Kuroda in an introduction to the 6th Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) in Manila today. “An important key to lowering energy intensity is the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and transition to renewable energy. Asia must also take radical steps to increase energy efficiency.”
To meet the rising demand for energy and improve the lives of 800 million people in Asia with no access to electricity, a significant push is needed to fast track new business models and policies for clean energy development. With over 500 participants from 60 countries in attendance, the ACEF is being co-organized by the United States Agency for International Development, the World Resources Institute, and ADB to promote dialogue on scaling up clean energy efforts in Asia and the Pacific.
In 2010, ADB invested $1.76 billion in clean energy and is on target to meet its goal of reaching $2 billion annually by 2013. ADB’s Asia Solar Energy Initiative was launched in 2010 to help develop 3,000 megawatts of new solar energy by 2013. In addition, ADB has recently announced its plan to inject $60 million into three venture capital funds that will provide early stage financing support for new climate technology products. This initiative is expected to leverage over $400 million in private sector investment.
Guest speakers at the ACEF include Amory Lovins, Cofounder, Chairman and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute (by video); and Mohamed El-Ashry, Senior Fellow, UN Foundation and Chairman of the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN 21).