Greenpeace proposes Asian clean energy strategy to avert climate disaster

Issues call on the eve of international meeting on climate change in Bangkok

Feature story - April 26, 2007
In the lead up to the Third Working Group Meeting of the ninth session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Bangkok, Greenpeace today called upon Asian governments to do its share in averting a climate disaster by immediately phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels and setting legally-binding targets for renewable energy along with strict efficiency standards for all energy consuming appliances, buildings and transport.

Waters in Lam Takong Dam in Korat, Nakhon Ratchasima province of Thailand have dried up due to prolonged drought, allowing villagers to camp inside the dam to catch the remaining fish. Greenpeace linked rising global temperatures and climate change to the onset of one of the worst droughts to have struck Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia in recent memory. Severe water shortage and damage to agriculture brought about by the severe drought has affected millions. Scientists from NASA recently warned that a weak El Nino combined with the impact of increasing greenhouse gas emissions from the use of fossil fuels such coal could make 2005 the hottest year since global temperature was recorded in the 1800s.

The IPCC meeting which starts 30th April will be focusing on ways to mitigate climate change.

"Even as we campaign for massive emission reduction and phase out of dirty energy in the developed countries, we have to ensure that the developing countries protect their economic development interests without exacerbating the problems of climate change. It is the populations of these developing countries that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change," said Sven Teske, energy expert of Greenpeace International and co-author of 'Energy [R]evolution: A sustainable East Asia Energy Outlook' released at the seminar today.

Renewable energy, combined with efficiencies from the smart use of energy, can deliver half of the world's energy needs by 2050, according the report co-produced by the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and Greenpeace International. The report is a practical blueprint for how to cut global CO2 emissions by almost 50% within the next 43 years, whilst providing a secure and affordable energy supply and, critically, maintaining steady worldwide economic development.

"For Thailand to meet the challenge of a low carbon, sustainable, secure energy future, it is crucial that the Government implement a binding Renewable Energy law that will enable the introduction of feed-in tariffs and immediately remove other bureaucratic and economic barriers that prevent the development of renewable energy," Said Tara Buakamsri, Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. "Renewable energies are competitive, if governments phase-out subsidies for fossil fuels and introduce the polluter pays principle," he added.

The report takes into account rapid economic growth in areas of East Asia, and highlights the economic advantages of the energy revolution scenario. However, the report also highlights the small timeframe for making the key decisions in energy infrastructure, which will have to be made by governments, investment institutions and utility companies.

"The Energy Revolution scenario comes as the world is crying out for a roadmap for tackling the dilemma of how to provide the power we all need, without fuelling climate change. We have shown that the world can have safe, robust renewable energy and that we can achieve the efficiencies needed. We can do all this whilst enjoying global economic growth and phasing out damaging and dangerous sources such as coal and nuclear, " concluded Von Hernandez, Campaign Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. 

A copy of the Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable East Asia Energy Outlook report can be downloaded at: www.greenpeace.org/energyrevolution and www.energyblueprint.info

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