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The Future is Green
Climate change is a serious problem, and is getting more so. Fast depleting oil reserves and price volatility are rocking economies built on fossil-fuels. Heralding the green era is the transition from oil and coal to finite fuels, or renewable energy sources such as biofuels, sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat. No doubt about it.
This is a difficult evolution as countries struggle to control the demand for conventional energy and at the same time embarking on advanced technologies to generate green energy as they move toward the end of fossil fuels.
In Southeast Asia, as in other parts of the developing world, energy security is a critical issue in sustainable development. Reducing oil imports and sharing energy resources can offer a short-term solution. Nuclear energy is controversial and dangerous. Strict conservation and strong commitment to green energy is the only way forward.
The cover story this month zooms into Southeast Asia’s latest green movements, focusing Southeast Asia’s efforts to promote clean energy. The exclusive interview with Dr. Michael Nobel, the great-grand nephew of Sir Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, sheds light on the carbon-free future.
Complementing the cover package is an article by Said Irandoust, President of the Asian Institute of Technology, on the role higher-learning institutions play in creating sustainable green principles. (Enter The Green Era, page-50) While energy sufficiency will remain a key issue for the ten-nation Association
of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), all eyes are on the trade bloc as it moves closer to starting a single market – Asean Economic Community.
Questions keep arising over the emergence in 2015 of a truly integrated market of half a billion consumers. Doubts overshadow the prospects of investors rushing in for their lion’s share. Take a look at the growing pains Asean is facing. (Is the Bloc Ready for Integration? Page-46) Issues of integration aside, Asean has been aggressively chasing trade deals lately, with the latest one being with India. The FTA, after six years in the making, is expected to raise two-way trade to $60 billion in 2016, up from $47 billion in 2008. (Pain-staking but Worth-Signing page-62)
On the lighter side, there is an armchair journey on the Mekong River with Asean trotter Reinhard Hohler, from Luang Prabang, Laos, to Chiang Khong in neighbouring Thailand. (Cruising the Mekong in Style, page-56).
Or, turn to the bite-size, fast-moving ‘inside’ stories of each Asean countries in our regular column, which, is laid out in a compact format – two countries in one page. This allows us to add two more columns – Aviation and Telecoms, key industries in Asean.
We welcome your comments and suggestions, be they on the magazine contents or on specific article. See what others are telling us (Your Views page-8).

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