MANILA — Asia and the Pacific must overhaul its energy sector to transition to a net-zero future that is vital in the fight against climate change, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa said today at the Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF).
“The transition to a net-zero future will not be stress-free: it calls for an overhaul of the energy sector—its policies, structure, governance, financing, and technologies,” said Mr. Asakawa. “We must strive to transition to clean, secure, and resilient energy that can also support just and inclusive growth for the region.”
More than 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from Asia and the Pacific, where some 157 million people in the region remain without electricity. ADB adopted a new energy policy in 2021 which pursues universal access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy services while promoting the low-carbon transition.
Mr. Asakawa said ADB will continue to deliver progressive, effective energy solutions under the bank’s ambition to provide $100 billion in cumulative climate finance from 2019 to 2030. ADB is promoting innovative financing models such as the Energy Transition Mechanism to accelerate the early retirement of coal plants, and the ASEAN Green Recovery Platform which invests in climate-resilient infrastructure in Southeast Asia to speed up the recovery from the pandemic.
Hosted by ADB and co-organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Korea Energy Agency (KEA), ACEF 2022 runs from 14 to 17 June. More than 3,000 delegates are expected to join the online event including policy makers, energy and private sector professionals, and civil society organizations from around the world.
This year’s forum explores integrated solutions in technology, finance, and policy to achieve the clean energy transition, meet countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions, and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.
On 16 June, ADB will launch a new digital ecological sensitivity mapping tool to enable countries to scale up their renewable energy infrastructure without harming birds and biodiversity. Wind and solar projects require large areas for utility-scale electricity generation, but if sited incorrectly, these can impact threatened species and lead to natural habitat losses—Potentially releasing millions of tons of stored carbon. Developed with BirdLife International, ADB’s Avian Sensitivity Tool for Energy Planning, or AVISTEP, will initially cover India, Nepal, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chair Hoesung Lee, US National Renewable Energy Laboratory Director and Alliance for Sustainable Energy President Martin Keller, and US National Renewable Energy Laboratory Program Manager for Strategy Andrea Watson delivered keynote messages at the opening plenary. ADB Managing Director General Woochong Um, KEA President Sang-Hoon Lee, and USAID Chief Climate Officer and Deputy Assistant Administrator Gillian Caldwell gave introductory remarks.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.