Cebu, the Philippines – A declaration on regional energy security signed by 16 leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a first step in a process that needs to be taken forward and strengthened if it is going to have any impact on greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change on the region, says WWF.
The Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security is the first ever regional statement on the need to tackle climate change. Although the statement falls short of what will be needed to face up to the clean energy transformation needed in the region, WWF agrees with the declaration’s call for decreasing dependence on oil and increasing reliance on renewable energy sources.
“Climate change clearly poses a major threat to the livelihoods and environments of the ASEAN region, ” stressed Hans Verolme, Director of WWF’s Global Climate Change Programme.
“The most efficient and economic way to reduce oil dependence will be through a stronger region-wide effort on energy efficiency. Little will be achieved without targets and a regional target on reducing energy intensity could be a next step.”
WWF believes ASEAN countries should constructively engage in the negotiations towards a meaningful Kyoto-Plus agreement that will keep the world safe from dangerous climate change. The developed economies need to commit to further deeper emissions reduction targets, whereas emerging economies need to consider how to put their economies on the path towards a low-carbon future.
The acknowledgement of the growing need for renewable energy is positive, but the 16 signatory nations will need to implement new incentives and regulations if these cleaner energy sources are to become a major source of energy.
In particular, WWF supports the advancement of biofuels but warns that if these fuels are developed unsustainably there will be loss of Asia’s rich biodiversity.
“The transition to clean energy is full of opportunities for reducing our dependence on volatile energy imports, creating new energy efficient technologies and opening new green markets for goods and services,” Verolme said.
• The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional political and economic organization that includes Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The ASEAN region has a population of about 500 million, a total area of 4.5 million square kilometers, a combined gross domestic product of almost US$700 billion, and a total trade of about US$ 850 billion (Source: ASEAN Secretariat).
• The ten ASEAN countries signed the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security together with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand.
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Brian Thomson, Press Officer
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