Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) -
At a United Nations forum in Singapore late last month, policy-makers were told that Asia needs clean energy to power sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Balancing sustainable development with high rates of economic growth requires agreement on a new energy compact for Asia and the Pacific.
"The Asia-Pacific economy is an engine of growth - but to keep it running we need cleaner, more sustainable, more accessible energy," said Noeleen Heyzer, United Nations under-secretary-general and executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
"We need a new Asian energy compact - a game-changer - to ensure universal access to modern energy sources, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, significantly improve energy efficiency, and more than double the share of renewables in the Asian energy mix by 2030."
Her remarks formed part of a lecture titled "Rio+20: Implications for energy access and sustainable development in Asia", as part of the Distinguished Speaker Programme organised by the Energy Market Authority (EMA), Singapore.
Global energy demand is predicted to grow by 33 per cent between 2010 and 2035 - with 50 per cent of that increase in demand expected from China and India alone. "Asian growth currently depends on fossil fuels for 80 per cent of our primary energy supply. With increasingly volatile commodity prices and the negative impacts of carbon-intensive growth on our environment, we need a transformation of our regional economic systems - and this must be driven by the energy sector," said Heyzer.
The year 2012 has been declared by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.
The world body will be working with countries in the region to explore the potential for developing an integrated regional power grid, among other initiatives to address issues of energy security and sustainability in Asia and the Pacific.