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Sustainable Energy Key to COVID-19 Recovery in Asia and the Pacific

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana
  • Opinion by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana (bangkok, thailand)
  • Inter Press Service

The good news is our area’s power techniques have continued to operate all through the pandemic. A brand new report Shaping a sustainable power future in Asia and the Pacific: A greener, extra resilient and inclusive power system launched in the present day by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) exhibits the power demand reductions have primarily impacted fossil fuels and depressed oil and fuel costs. Renewable power improvement in international locations throughout the area, comparable to China and India, has continued at a wholesome tempo all through 2020.

As the Asia-Pacific area transitions its power system to clear, environment friendly and low carbon applied sciences, the emergence of the pandemic raises some basic questions. How can a remodeled power system assist guarantee our resilience to future crises comparable to COVID-19? As we get better from this pandemic, can we launch a “green recovery” that concurrently rebuilds our economies and places us on observe to meet world local weather and sustainability objectives?

A clear and sustainable power is central to a restoration from COVID-19 pandemic. By emphasizing the significance of the SDGs as a guiding framework for recovering higher collectively, we should give attention to two vital aspcets:

First, by making significant progress on the SDGs, we will tackle lots of the systemic points that made societies extra weak to COVID-19 in the first place – well being, respectable work, poverty and inequalities, to title a number of.

Second, by directing stimulus spending to investments that assist the achievement of the SDGs, we will construct again higher. If international locations focus their stimulus efforts on the industries of the previous comparable to fossil fuels, we danger not creating the jobs we want, or shifting in the proper path to obtain the world objectives which might be vital to future generations. The power sector presents a number of alternatives to align stimulus with the clear industries of the future.

The proof exhibits that renewable power and power effectivity tasks create extra jobs for the identical funding as fossil gas tasks. By growing expenditure on clear cooking and electrical energy entry, we will improve financial exercise in rural areas and carry trendy infrastructure that may make these communities extra resilient and inclusive, significantly for the wellbeing of ladies and kids.

Additionally, investing in low-carbon infrastructure and applied sciences can create a foundation for the extra bold local weather pledges we want to attain the Paris Agreement targets of a 2-degree world warming restrict. On this observe, a number of international locations have introduced carbon neutrality, demonstrating a long-term imaginative and prescient and dedication to an accelerated transformation to sustainable power. Phasing out the use of coal from energy technology portfolios by substituting with renewables, ending fossil gas subsidies, and implementing carbon pricing are a few of the steps we will take.

The COVID-19 disaster has compelled us to change many points of our lives to preserve ourselves and our societies protected. It has proven that we’re extra adaptive and resilient than we could have believed. Nevertheless, we should always not waste the alternatives this disaster presents for transformative change. It mustn’t deflect us from the pressing process of creating trendy power obtainable to all and decarbonizing the area’s power system by way of a transition to sustainable power. Instead, it ought to present us with a renewed sense of urgency.

We should harness the capability of sustainable power to rebuild our societies and economies whereas defending the setting in the pursuit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP

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© Inter Press Service (2021) — All Rights ReservedOriginal supply: Inter Press Service

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