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Learning from World-frontrunners in Dealing with Climate Change

By Muhammad Rizki Kresnawan, Beni Suryadi, Rizky Fauzianto (GIZ)
27 May 2020

As the most vulnerable region in the world, Southeast Asia is required to be ready in facing climate change impacts in the future. Some of the impacts like sea-level rise, droughts and floods, also peatland fires already threatened the region. Hence, many scientists echoing decarbonisation to reduce emissions. However, the current situation in Southeast Asia still seems far from the ‘ideal’.

Under the ASEAN Plan of Action on Energy Cooperation (APAEC), ASEAN region already set the target of achieving the 23% of renewable energy shares in Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) by 2025. However, according to the ASEAN Energy Database System (AEDS) from ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE), ASEAN TPES in 2017 was dominated by fossil fuel resources with Oil around 36.4%, Gas about 23.2%, Coal shares near 22.3%, and others only around 3.9%, while the RE shares only about 14.3%. So, ASEAN still has around 8% gap to be pursued. The question is, what can ASEAN do in order to achieve its target?

Indeed, to boost economic growth, it requires much energy. However, all of the ASEAN Member States (AMS) already ratified themselves to the Paris Agreement as well as the submitted Intended National Determined Contributions (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Therefore, substantially ASEAN region should try to break away from the fossil fuel resources. Nevertheless, reality proves it differently. ASEAN still relies on fossil fuel resources and seems like no significant efforts in the future. It might cause some side effects related to climate change. Not to mention the negative impact of the emitted emissions on health, hence ASEAN should align their goals on ASEAN economic community (AEC) with the global trend on reducing the emissions. How can ASEAN crack these constraints?

The solution is to break the silo between energy policy and climate policy. Benchmarking the experience from the advanced countries in building sustainable energy and energy-related climate change policy would be a good reference for the region.

In February 2020, Norway became the first four countries who submitted more robust climate plans and ambitions through its new NDC. Norwegian Government sets a top-line target to reduce emissions by at least 50%, and toward 55% below 1990 levels by 2030 while in previous NDC the target is only 40% reduction by 2030. Norway has long been a pioneer in the green economy and has proven that sustainable development is achievable. It has the world highest carbon price at nearly $60 per tonne. This high price indirectly led to more and more people using cleaner transport like an electric vehicle. During this time, Norwegian electric vehicles accounted for more than 40% of all vehicle purchases in the world in 2019, which may continue to raise its pollution reduction goal.

Similar to the Norway, Germany also put their investments in dealing with climate change. Last September 2019, Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to approve a $60 billion climate change plan aimed at putting Germany back on track to achieve its target on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Its investment includes incentives for electric vehicles, energy-efficient heaters, and a moratorium on banning the oil-fired combustion beginning in 2025. Aeroplane fare taxes will rise, while train ticket surcharges will decrease as part of measures to persuade more passengers to migrate from the air to the trains. Renewable energy resources, including wind and solar, would be extended to increase their contribution to 65% of all electricity by 2020. These efforts show both seriousness’s becoming the world frontrunner in dealing with climate change.

Both spirits in dealing with energy and climate change have been brought to the ASEAN region. With its expertise, Norway and Germany have been taking a pivotal role in ASEAN energy sector. Through projects implemented in the region, both countries are supporting ASEAN to build coherence, coordinated, focused, robust, and climate-friendly energy policy agenda and strategy. Also, synergising the energy-climate policies in the national and regional level with providing the recommendations and assist the ASEAN member states in shaping its policies.

For more than a decade, Germany through ASEAN-German Energy Programme (AGEP), a jointly implemented project by ASEAN Center for Energy (ACE) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), has provided continuous support for sustainable energy advocacy and cooperation in ASEAN.  ASEAN-German Energy Programme (AGEP), which is now in Phase II, has grown from initially only on specific issue (Mini hydro, then turned to renewable energies, and then included energy efficiencies as well) to more critical function to strengthen the strategic role of ACE as a regional centre of excellence for sustainable energy.

As both projects share similar purpose, the ASEAN Climate Change and Energy Project (ACCEPT) is happy to further enhance the collaboration with the ASEAN-German Energy Programme (AGEP)  to improve the coherence between the ASEAN energy and climate policies, contribute to more climate-friendly development of the energy sector.

The collaboration will focus on supporting ACE in the development of the 6th ASEAN Energy Outlook (AEO6) and the ASEAN Energy Database System (AEDS), which bring the knowledge and expertise from two advanced countries on climate change and energy: Germany and Norway. It is expected that the collaboration will strengthen ASEAN’s efforts in the implementation of its ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2016-2025.

With the current cooperation between ASEAN with Norway and Germany through the implemented projects, it is envisaged to leverage ASEAN level on building the sustainable energy development policy and implementation. The work result of the project will remain forever in the region, and both countries can be acknowledged of their support in assisting ASEAN region dealing with the most terrible crisis that world face now, climate change. (MRK/BS/RF)

Learn more our collaboration with AGEP on AEO6 and AEDS here.