Asia moving along a dangerously unsustainable energy path, warns ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has warned that Asia is moving along a dangerously unsustainable energy path that will result in environmental disaster and a gaping divide in energy access between rich and poor.

According to its recently released report Asian Development bank highlights the complex balancing act the region faces to deliver energy to all its citizens while scaling back its reliance on fossil fuels. Report stated that if by 2035 Asia merely expands energy access without fundamentally changing the way it consumes, then region’s oil consumption will double, natural gas consumption will triple, and coal consumption will rise a whopping 81%, with costly and devastating environmental impacts.

“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.

Report said that with only 9% of proven global oil reserves, the region is currently on track to almost triple oil imports by 2035, rendering it significantly more vulnerable to external supply shocks.

It said that Asia must find the political will and innovation to scrap outdated policies and recalibrate its energy mix. For one, policymakers will need to replace general fuel subsidies that artificially lower the cost of power and impose huge fiscal burdens with targeted subsidies for the poor. The report suggests eliminating wasteful subsidies worldwide would also lower CO2 emissions by 2.6 billion tons in 2035.

Renewable energy technologies wind, solar and bio fuel technologies must be stepped up.

Countries cannot meet all their power requirements on their own, so Asia must accelerate cross-border interconnection of power and gas grids to improve efficiency, cut costs, and take advantage of surplus power. With increased cooperation, a pan-Asia energy market is achievable by 2030, the report says.