Meeting Asia and Pacific Region’s Renewable Energy Needs

Speaking at a recent seminar in India about what’s next for Sustainable Energy Development in Asia, the vice president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Geert van der Linden, said rising concerns about energy needs, costs and security call for new ways of thinking about sources and use of energy.

“Thus, we see renewed efforts to reduce energy intensity, and to develop renewable and new alternative energy sources,” Mr. van der Linden said. He suggested adopting biofuel, hydrogen-fuel and hybrid technologies in automotives would go a long way toward putting developing Asia on a more sustainable footing. The environmental impacts of conventional energy and traditional fuel use are becoming unsustainable at both local and global levels, Mr. van der Linden added, and said, “Addressing these challenges effectively will require collective and coordinated action by governments, producers, consumers, regulators and the development community.” ADB has established several trust funds to support activities in renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Energy Efficiency Initiative is promoting greater energy efficiency from both the supply and demand sides to reduce the pace of greenhouse gas emissions without affecting economic growth. In response to the above, however, Greenpeace has released statements saying that ADB’s announcement of a “pipeline of clean energy projects worth $1 billion by the year 2008” is not enough. Greenpeace is demanding that the ADB shift all funding away from coal and toward a 100 percent renewable and energy efficiency target. The Bank’s next Annual Meeting — its 40th — coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol and, as Laetitia Demarez, Climate Campaigner, Greenpeace France, said, “There is no better time to force links between finance, climate policy and energy policy. We have forced the ADB to challenge the wisdom of business as usual. We have revealed the true face of the bank to its own governors. Some donor members of the ADB have now begun to push the bank to exercise leadership.”
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