Winds of Change : East Asia's Sustainable Energy Future
This report demonstrates that a "climate-smart" energy strategy is possible for countries in the East Asia region, with support from the international community. In the past three decades, the East Asia region has experienced the fastest economic growth in the world, accompanied by rapid urbanization. As a consequence, energy consumption has more than tripled and is expected to further double over the next two decades. This remarkable growth and rapid urbanization have led to twin energy challenges in the region: improving environmental sustainability and enhancing energy security. The region has many of the world's most polluted cities, resulting from fossil fuel combustion. The region also contains some of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world, although their per capita and historical emissions are much below the levels of industrialized countries. Concerns with energy security have grown because of increased risks of price volatility and possible disruptions in supplies for oil and gas. To move the region to a sustainable energy path, the commitment of the respective governments and communities is essential. The governments will need energy-pricing reforms that no longer encourage the use of fossil fuels, and put in place regulations and incentives that improve energy efficiency and support low-carbon technologies. The governments also will need to ramp up research and development for new technologies to leapfrog to the clean energy revolution. The countries cannot move to a sustainable energy path alone. They will need the support of the international community. Substantial concessional financing is essential to motivate energy efficiency and low-carbon technology investments. Transfer of low-carbon technologies and institutional strengthening also will be needed.
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