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Market News

 April 19, 2010
World Bank says East Asia could stabilise emissions by 2025

 AFP - East Asia could stabilise its greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 while maintaining economic growth by investing heavily in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies, the World Bank said Monday.

Achieving this would require the region's energy guzzlers to invest an extra 80 billion dollars a year to make power, industry and transport sectors more efficient and develop renewable energy, the World Bank said.

Success also depends on the region finding the political will for big changes as well as transfers of financing and technologies from developed countries, the Washington-based lender said in a regional energy report.

"Major investments in energy efficiency and a concerted switch to renewable sources of power... could simultaneously stabilise greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy security while improving local environments," the report said.

But the World Bank warned time was running out and urged policymakers in energy-hungry China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to act quickly.

"While many East Asian countries are taking steps in these directions, accelerating the speed and scaling up the efforts are needed to get on to a sustainable energy path," it said.

"The window of opportunity is closing fast, because delaying action would lock the region into a long-lasting high-carbon infrastructure."

If countries act, regional carbon emissions could stabilise by 2025 and begin to decline, said the bank, which provides financial and technical aid to developing nations.

It said carbon emissions could be limited to 9.2 gigatonnes a year by 2030 -- 37 percent lower than the World Bank's estimated level if governments stick to their current climate change policies.

Achieving the target depends largely on China, which accounts for 80 percent of energy consumption and 85 percent of regional carbon emissions, it said.

The world's third-largest economy will need to reduce its carbon emissions as a percentage of economic growth by an even greater margin than currently planned, the bank said.

It called that a "daunting goal," given that China is still a developing country relying on energy-intensive, heavy-polluting industries.

It also noted that major policy and institutional reforms as well as big lifestyle changes would be needed throughout the region to achieve the goal.

"Developing countries will need to avoid the carbon-intensive path and wasteful lifestyles followed by industrial countries in the past," the bank said.

On the upside, the shift to clean energy offered developing countries the chance to "leap-frog to the next generation of new technologies, create local manufacturing industries to drive down costs and become global technology leaders."