Coal undermine ASEAN climate hopes

The climate summit in Copenhagen in December has raised the awareness on the fulfilment of the Kyoto-protocol in Southeast Asia.

As a large and fast-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions the countries of Southeast Asia will be important in shaping a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. But although the governments increasingly indicate willingness to address the issue, concrete policies are few and there is a trend towards greater, more carbon-intensive energy use and forest loss, there will increase the region’s contribution of atmospheric CO2.

According to the Asia Pacific Energy Research Centre in Tokyo (a body operating under the auspices of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum) the carbon dioxide emissions from production and consumption of energy in South-east Asia will increase at least fourfold between 2002 and 2030 assuming that, there will be no major departure from existing production and consumption patterns as a result of climate change policy.

The centre states, that there is an overall rhetoric increasingly willingness to address climate change in the region, but the gap between economic and environmental concerns has resulted in a reality, which is underscored by plans for a large-scale expansion of coal use across the region. This poses an enormous challenge if the region is to contribute seriously to cutting in their CO2 emissions.

Besides Brunei the remaining nine members of ASEAN – Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – have all ratified the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

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