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Asian Development Bank Launches Draft Energy Strategy

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has released the draft for its proposed energy strategy and is soliciting opinions from the public and from experts. The strategy is expected to cover the following critical areas:
• energy security
• global warming/climate change
• sector policy reform and governance
• energy efficiency

The ADB frames the context of its strategy in this way: “The energy demand in Asia and the Pacific region is increasing rapidly due to the unprecedented economic growth in the region. According to the International Energy Agency, primary energy demand in the developing Asia will grow from 2.9 billion tons of oil equivalent (btoe) in 2004 to 5.8 btoe in 2030. This growth is not sustainable if most of this energy will have to be met by fossil fuels. Increased fossil fuel consumption will significantly increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and result in dangerous levels of global warming.”

How will it be possible to balance the continued demand for energy with the need to try to reduce the impact of global warming and environmental damage? The reality of climate change is now accepted by the ADB and integrated into its strategy: “The impacts of rapid climate change are expected to be profound in Asia and the Pacific region. From the Himalayan highlands to the rich tropical forests of Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands, many natural ecosystems are vulnerable to climate change and some will most likely be irreversibly damaged. The poorest people within the large populations of both sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Scientists have observed abnormal weather patterns recently, including more intense tropical storms, more severe and frequent droughts and floods, accelerated melting of glaciers and rises in sea level, higher frequency of forest fires, shortage of freshwater, threatened crop production and aquaculture, higher incidence of heat-related and infectious diseases, enhanced risk of loss of life and properties, among others. Global economic damage from the negative impacts of climate change is projected by the insurance industry at hundreds of billions of dollars each year.” It has been observed before that climate change deniers will be looked upon as the moral equivalents of Holocaust deniers.

The report shows statistics reporting that more than 200 million people in the ASEAN region are living without access to electricity. Economic growth, professed as a goal for the majority of ASEAN governments and, consequently, there will be important business opportunities for firms able to provide sustainable solutions for the expansion of power within the ASEAN region, as well as reducing unsustainable practices already in operation. One issue of considerable controversy is that of the use of nuclear energy. While the ADB recognises that technology concerned with the production and distribution of nuclear energy has improved significantly over recent decades, it concludes that “…due to concerns related to nuclear technology, procurement limitations, proliferation risks, fuel availability, and environmental and safety concerns, ADB will maintain its current policy of non-involvement in the financing of nuclear power generation.”

The draft strategy may be accessed online at: Make observations about a set of issues of considerable importance to everyone involved in Asia and, indeed, the world here:

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