July 6, 2006

ASIA: Linking Asian Climate Change to Energy Future

When bankers in developing countries create funding initiatives to address concern about the impact of energy technology and security on climate issues, it is time to take notice. It could be a public relations move by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to draw attention to its other investment initiatives, but the facts President Kuroda cites about the upsurge in demand and the possible consequences in GHG emissions and climate change shows sincerity of purpose.

ADB's mission "The work of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is aimed at improving the welfare of the people in Asia and the Pacific, particularly the 1.9 billion who live on less than $2 a day. Despite many success stories, Asia and the Pacific remains home to two thirds of the world's poor."

Hyping its "Clean Energy Week" as the world's first "carbon neutral conference", the organizers from ADB's Regional and Sustainable Development Department have made preliminary calculations on the amount of carbon produced in putting on the event. This includes carbon dioxide emissions from flights carrying participants, their taxi rides from the airport, electricity for hotel rooms, preparation of meals and refreshments, and lighting and air conditioning at the meeting.

In addition, emissions and consumption will be kept to a minimum with no presentations of meeting notes printed (instead, all papers will be made available online) and participants encouraged to walk from their hotel, neighboring the ADB building.
At the end of the event, the calculations will be finalized and ADB will then purchase equivalent carbon credits from the market.

Below is the full text of their p.r. release...


Asia Critical to Future of Climate Change
Asian Development Bank President Kuroda

Manila, June 20, 2006 (ACN Newswire) - No region in the world is as critical to future climate change as Asia, Asian Development Bank (ASX: ATB) President Haruhiko Kuroda told the opening of ADB's Clean Energy Week today.

"Climate change is a reality that we can no longer ignore and one that we have to take immediate action to mitigate and adapt to," Mr. Kuroda said in opening remarks to the event at ADB's Manila Headquarters.

Over three days, major players in the Asian energy agenda - including representatives of developing countries, donor governments, nongovernment organizations, and the private sector - will discuss, debate and exchange experiences on energy issues and climate change.

"We look forward to working with all our development partners to bring concrete, lasting solutions to the table for slowing climate change and ensuring a sustainable growth path for Asia and the Pacific," Mr. Kuroda said.

The ADB President said while Asia needs energy to maintain rapid growth and continue cutting poverty, energy production and consumption need to move to a more sustainable path.

"Today, the issues surrounding energy conservation, efficiency and security are more important than ever," he said. "While Asia's rapid growth has brought undeniable benefits to the poor, it has also put a serious strain on the environment and on our natural resources, including energy."

In the 30 years to 2003, he pointed out, Asia's energy consumption grew by 230%, compared with the average worldwide increase of 75%. As a result, the share of the region's greenhouse gas emissions has risen from less than one-tenth of global emissions to nearly one quarter. Meanwhile, the rocketing of the price of oil to almost $80 a barrel has elevated the need for energy conservation and efficiency, and the use of renewable energy as key priorities for the region.

Mr. Kuroda said that in response to these challenges, ADB is supporting activities in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

These include an Energy Efficiency Initiative, under which ADB plans to expand its program of clean energy projects to $1 billion a year, as well as a planned Carbon Market Initiative (CMI), which will help developing countries address shortages in finance and capacity for adopting cleaner energy technologies.

"We believe the CMI will help shift investment patterns, foster sustainable economic development, and, in the long term, have a positive impact on both energy security and climate change," Mr. Kuroda said.

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