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APEC energy outlook

APEC energy outlook: consumption surges; efficiency emerges; sustainability diverges

Issued By the APEC Energy Working Group

Tokyo, Japan, 21 Feb 2013 - Even under ‘business-as-usual’ assumptions, APEC member economies which account for about 60 percent of world energy demand will likely meet their target of a 45 percent improvement in efficiency by 2035. But there is still further work to be done to ensure greater environmental sustainability in the region.

This is the conclusion of a report on the outlook for APEC’s energy demand and supply that was released on Thursday. The report was conducted by Asia Pacific Energy Research Center, in coordination with the APEC Energy Working Group, and provides detailed projections of APEC’s energy demand, supply and greenhouse gas emissions.

“APEC’s energy efficiency surge over the last three decades is expected to continue at a modestly accelerated rate and could result in an improvement of about 53 percent by 2035,” said Dr Phyllis Genther Yoshida, Lead Shepherd of the APEC Energy Working Group. “This trend is being driven by the adoption of new technologies within the sector and more robust energy efficiency policies among APEC economies.”

Primary energy consumption is expected to grow by only 53 percent during the same period. Without reductions in energy intensity, APEC energy demand would grow at the same rate as the region’s gross domestic product which is projected to jump about 225 percent by 2035.

According to the report, over 80 percent of APEC’s primary energy demand in 2035 is likely to be met by fossil fuels. Due to the region’s surging energy demand, this could result in a 46 percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion.

“Substantial reductions in emissions are needed to put the Asia Pacific on a path toward sustainability and mitigate the risks of climate change,” Dr Yoshida says.

To deal with the region’s energy challenges, the report recommends that APEC economies work more closely to boost climate change awareness, further promote energy efficiency, support research on low-carbon technologies and implement measures such as carbon taxes or emissions trading, as appropriate, to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The report also looks at several alternative scenarios for meeting APEC’s energy needs. This includes a ‘High Gas Scenario’ which finds that the APEC region could conservatively increase production of natural gas by an additional 30 percent by 2035 if barriers to gas development and trade were reduced.

New technology for shale gas and other unconventional gas could make these levels of production feasible, the report adds. This could in turn help reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by a further 22 percent by 2035.

At their 2011 meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, the APEC Leaders set a target to reduce the region’s energy intensity by at least 45 percent by 2035 based on a variety of measures. Energy intensity is a widely-used indicator of energy efficiency, defined as energy demand divided by gross domestic product.

The APEC Energy Demand and Supply Outlook 5th Edition is available for immediate downloading at this link.


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