Skip to main content
Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

04 February 2021

ESCAP

Excellencies,

Distinguished Ministers, Ladies and gentlemen

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the United Nations Roundtable on Extractive Industries, Sustainable Development, and the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific.

The Asia-Pacific region is home to 60 per cent of the world’s population and is responsible for nearly 50 per cent of the world’s energy demand.  This region also accounts for 80 per cent of both global coal production and global coal consumption. So, extractive industry sector is closely linked to the future advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) trajectory in Asia and the Pacific.  

With uneven progress across the SDGs in our region, meeting SDG7 on energy and the commitments made under the Paris Agreement means phasing out the use of coal in our energy systems.

Today, we are pleased to launch a new UN ESCAP report “Coal phase out and energy transition pathways for Asia and the Pacific”.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

May I take this opportunity to highlight key messages of the report.

The future of coal consumption depends on both current use of coal for power generation and the global expansion of coal fired power generation.  A total of 27 countries in the Asia-Pacific region account for 76 per cent of current global coal capacity and for 94 per cent of global planned new coal capacity for power generation.

These planned capacity additions are not consistent with our goal to reach a pathway consistent with the Paris Agreement. To meet the Paris climate target, existing coal fired capacity will need to be shuttered or utilized less before the end of their lifetimes. Hence, each additional coal project increases the risk of stranded assets, creating a burden that consumers will ultimately be responsible for.

Coal phase out policies tied to broader long-term energy plans would provide clearer signals to all stakeholders, helping to avoid stranded assets such as coal generation and coal production facilities. Given the size of the Asia-Pacific region’s demand, a strong push from our region to phase out coal would have global implications.

Therefore, policymakers have available options to help make better, more sustainable choices. More ambitious renewable energy targets, the removal of fossil fuel subsidies, and putting a price on carbon would all help push markets in the right direction.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me now to share key policy recommendations in the Asia-Pacific region for your further consideration.

First, let us adopt best practice policies—phase out fossil fuel subsidies, carbon pricing, renewable energy support, encourage and push shifts in investment through green recovery. Governments need to focus on directing public funding and incentivising private investments towards renewable energy and related technology and infrastructure development.

 

Second, we must enhance regional cooperation in grid transmission and trans-boundary grid integration. There are several renewable energy potentials in selected subregions, including in the Pacific, parts South and South-East Asia, and Central and East Asia.

Third, let us encourage Governments to focus their financial and other development support on shifting investments and energy system transformation towards clean energy. Furthermore, Governments must work together with the private sector to take these initiatives forward.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

In Asia and the Pacific, Governments need to accelerate the clean energy transition, while leaving no one behind.

ESCAP, along with the UN family in our region, is committed to working closely with member States, the private sector and civil society on joining efforts to shifting away from coal production and dependency on coal consumption in Asia and the Pacific.

I look forward to hearing about this most important issue from multiple perspectives.

Thank you.

Print this article

RELATED PROGRAMME OF WORK

Energy +66 2 288-1234 [email protected]
RELATED SDGs