AsianScientist (Apr. 15, 2013) – Asia’s energy use would lead to a doubling of carbon dioxide emissions unless it fundamentally changes the way it consumes energy, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.
“Asia could be consuming more than half the world’s energy supply by 2035, and without radical changes carbon dioxide emissions will double,” said ADB Chief Economist Changyong Rhee. “Asia must both contain rising demand and explore cleaner energy options, which will require creativity and resolve, with policymakers having to grapple with politically difficult issues like fuel subsidies and regional energy market integration.”
Asia’s Energy Challenge, the special theme chapter in ADB’s Asian Development Outlook 2013 (ADO 2013) released on April 9, highlights the complex balancing act the region faces to deliver energy to all its citizens while scaling back its reliance on fossil fuels.
Without fundamentally changing the way it consumes energy, the report predicts the region’s oil consumption will double by 2035, natural gas consumption will triple, and coal consumption will rise a whopping 81 percent.
Asia has great potential in shale gas, with China having the world’s largest endowment. But technical uncertainties such as leakage and water contamination must be addressed, says the report.
The Fukushima disaster powerfully underscored the risks of nuclear power, but a phase out of nuclear energy would see a sharp spike in fossil fuel use, it says.
In Asia, 1.8 billion people still rely on wood and other traditional fuel as their primary energy source. Countries cannot meet all their power requirements on their own, so Asia must accelerate cross-border interconnection of power and gas grids. With increased cooperation, a pan-Asia energy market is achievable by 2030, the report says.
The report also urges political leaders to scrap outdated policies and step up support for next generation wind, solar, and biofuel technologies.
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