In order to accelerate progress toward a clean energy transition, APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) energy officials are strengthening cooperation while ensuring sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
Speaking during the group’s meeting on May 21-22, Ariadne BenAissa, the Lead Shepherd of the APEC Energy Working Group (EWG) said,”Energy is the foundation on which our economies are built, and it is what makes everything else possible.”
However, she opined that the current energy systems are the primary driver of climate change, which is the greatest existential threat. The APEC region contributed to 59 percent of the global total primary energy supply in 2020, according to the group. She informed that fossil fuels dominate APEC’s energy mix at 86 percent of the total primary energy supply and 75 percent of electricity generation. Though the data shows the larger share of fossil fuels in the current energy mix, APEC is still experiencing accelerated growth in renewable energy and is currently ahead of schedule in meeting the existing goals to double renewable energy and energy intensity.
“We have worked together to advance energy security, accelerate deployment of renewable energy, and reduce energy intensity, among other areas,” the United States Co-Chair of the EWG, Elizabeth Urbanas, remarked.
“But we must strengthen our energy ambitions to accelerate progress while safeguarding the most vulnerable populations impacted by climate change,” she affirmed.
The US, the host of APEC 2023, has put forward a proposal for the forum to adopt a new aggregate goal for power sector decarbonisation, with a new target for electricity from carbon-free or carbon-neutral sources by 2035.
“We also need to reduce methane emissions, which can be achieved through exchanges on leakage detection, methane abatement technologies and approaches, and a commitment to carry forward these efforts,” Urbanas pointed out.
Later, the energy officials, experts, academia, and civil society held a policy dialogue on just energy transition preceding their meeting. Also, they looked into practical actions for member economies’ consideration, as they move forward towards the use of clean energy. The focus during energy transition would include incorporating inclusivity and focusing on supporting the region’s workforce, including women, small and medium enterprises, and others, with untapped economic potential.
“We may be talking about offshore wind deployment, hydrogen infrastructure, or digital solar maps, but at the heart of all of this, what we are talking about is taking care of our people,” BenAissa noted.