‘Asia undermining efforts to reduce coal dependence’

(Eco Business, 10 Sep 2019) Over 80 per cent of new coal investments are in the Asia Pacific region, where governments are pushed to meet a fast-growing demand for power.

Asia’s dependence on coal is completely at odds with the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, a UN official warned, as experts from the region met in Bangkok (2–6 September) to find ways to intensify efforts to stem global warming.

“Over 80 per cent of global coal power capacity under construction is in this region,” Kaveh Zahedi, deputy executive secretary of UN’s Economic and Social Council for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said in a press briefing during the Asia-Pacific climate week conference on Wednesday.
China, India and the Southeast Asian region were leading in coal investments, he said, adding that 40 per cent of the region’s existing energy supply comes from coal.

Nations agreed in Paris in 2015 to keep the global average temperature increase to below two degrees Celsius and limit the rise to no more than 1.5 degrees. But the goals set by countries to curb their greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions have put the world on track for a three-degree Celsius rise by the end of the century.

According to Zahedi, while other regions are increasingly switching to greener sources of energy, Asian nations are still planning to rely on coal to meet a fast-growing demand for power.

China and India have significantly added solar and other renewable sources to their energy mix in recent years and developing countries like Indonesia and the Philippines are also starting to ramp up renewable energy and energy efficiency, but “clearly, it’s just not enough,” Zahedi said.

“Our region is still the one where the greatest new investments are being made in coal, and clearly that is incompatible with the ambitions of Paris,” he said.

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Eco Business, 10 Sep 2019: ‘Asia undermining efforts to reduce coal dependence’