Asia’s phenomenal economic growth over the last two decades rests firmly on the shoulders of fossil fuels, in particular coal, a reliance that is projected to continue given the relative reliability and low cost of coal-fired power. Yet this reliance on coal must be set against a changing and uncertain landscape: coal prices have risen sharply in 2016, oil and gas prices remain at their lowest for ten years, solar and wind options have gained in competitiveness and, with global climate change agreements such as Paris 2015, governments have gained confidence in announcing stronger environmental targets and objectives.
With these developments in climate change governance, traditional models within Asia have come under greater scrutiny and threat. Despite the recent COP22 meeting in Marrakech, the possible resurgence of US climate change skepticism leaves the sector facing a period of uncertainty. Does Asia’s growing interest in greener energy mark the beginning of a fundamental shift for the region, or will it prove a flash in the pan? While greater scrutiny need not necessarily mean greater clarity for Asia’s energy sector stakeholders, improved understanding, with clear insights based on rigorous quantitative (where possible) and qualitative (where necessary) analysis, remains key to better policy.
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