East Asia needs $80 billion for energy shift: WB report

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A World Bank report released on Monday calls on six major energy-using countries of East Asia, including Vietnam, to switch to renewable energies.

"What is required is a paradigm shift to a new low-carbon development model with sustainable lifestyles," Jim Adams, World Bank Vice President for the East Asia & Pacific Region said in a statement. "Countries need to act now to transform the energy sector towards much higher energy efficiency and widespread deployment of low-carbon technologies."

The report, titled "Winds of Change: East Asia's Sustainable Energy Future," indicates that China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, considered middle-income nations, could stabilize greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 without compromising economic growth.

These countries should attract private investment in financing the cost that could add up to about US$80 billion a year, the report said.

Xiaodong Wang, senior energy analyst for the World Bank and the report's author, said the region has among the worst polluted cities and are most vulnerable to climate change, stressing that the "window of opportunity is closing fast" for countries to act.

The report notes that under current consumption trends, Vietnam and Malaysia are projected to shift soon from being net energy exporters to importers. By 2030, Thailand and the Philippines are expected to import 60 to 70 percent of their energy needs.

It suggests governments implement energy pricing reforms, provide financial incentives to deploy renewable energy technologies and promote clean energy based sustainable lifestyles that means compact city design, enhanced public transport, green buildings and clean vehicles.

The report also calls for more international cooperation in transferring low-carbon technologies from developed nations to developing countries.

According to the author, an alternative, low-carbon growth path development for the EAP countries in the next decades could require a three-fold increase in the share of low-carbon technologies, such as renewable energy and nuclear energy in power generation from the estimated 17 percent at present.

Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia plan to introduce nuclear power after 2020.

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