Asia needs to spend $300B a year in clean energy -- ADB

Posted on September 29, 2016

DEVELOPING Asia -- including the Philippines -- will need to spend an additional $300-billion net, per year on clean energy infrastructure in order to keep global warming at bay, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Asia is the world’s fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, the ADB reported in its updated Asian Development Outlook 2016 study, which has a special chapter on low-carbon growth. Fossil fuels, which account for 66% of Asia’s total emissions, are considered a contributor to global warming and climate change.

Most developing-Asia countries are signatories to the 2015 Paris agreement, a global initiative to keep global temperature increases below two degrees Celsius. To attain this goal, the ADB reported that the region should spend an additional $300 billion per year on clean energy infrastructure through 2050.

“The economic returns from adopting low-carbon policies needed to mitigate the increasing devastating impacts of climate change far outweigh the costs,” said Deputy Chief Economist of the ADB Juzhong Zhuang.

If the right steps are taken, the ADB estimates that the region can gain double of what it has spent to attain the goal set by the Paris agreement.

Climate change mitigation costs are lower in developing Asia compared to other regions, making it easier to trade carbon credits, which could reduce mitigation costs by half as a region.

It would also prevent around 600,000 deaths from air pollution related causes and preserve more than 45 million hectares of forested land.

Ambitious actions to cut emissions within the next 10 years could increase benefit-cost ratios and lower long-run costs by more than a quarter each.

Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies could free up resources to sharply scale up fresh investments in renewable energy and carbon capture technologies.

On the other hand, if climate change is left unchecked, the bank estimates that it could decrease the region’s GDP by more than 10% by the next century.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has stated that he will not honor the Paris agreement as the Philippines is still a developing economy that cannot completely rely on renewable energy.

Environment Secretary Regina L. Lopez is seeking to have the president reconsider his stance. -- Lucia Edna P. de Guzman