KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 — Southeast Asia and East Asia are crucial for the energy transition agenda as environmental and energy challenges do not respect national boundaries, said Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the disruptions they caused, were ample proof of how delicate if not vulnerable Southeast Asia’s supply chains are.
The closer cooperation between two regions, “which share so many historical and economic linkages is crucial and these regions are collectively driving current global economic growth and hence should also be at the forefront of climate action,” the minister said.
There is a demand for not only regional developmental policies or roadmaps regarding renewable energy (RE) but also a need to work towards common policies and regulatory standards, Nik Nazmi added.
“We need attractive investment policies and strategies to promote as well as facilitate their adoption in sectors like manufacturing and transportation as well as reduce costs.
“We should also be developing tech and solutions from our region, for our region,” he said in his keynote address at the 6th East Asia Energy Forum in Bali, Indonesia, on Monday (August 21).
Commenting further, Nik Nazmi said Southeast and East Asian countries must support each other and work together on climate action and energy transition.
“This will be essential for Asia’s wider response. This not only applies to governments but also at the level of civil society and business,” he said.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) has warned that yearly investments in energy transition technologies have to more than quadruple to over US$5 trillion (RM23.2 trillion) and cumulative investments must amount to US$44 trillion (RM204.8 trillion) by 2030.
The WEF has also argued while developing countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East are committed to energy transition and have vast renewable energy resources, they lack the finances and technical know-how to develop them fully.
Nik Nazmi said climate change is a crisis that cannot be solved without an energy transition.
“History has shown that countries could recover better and more quickly when there was international cooperation, such as via the Marshall Plan in the case of World War II.
“This is something we must replicate in the face of climate change. Wealthy countries must be willing to support climate action and the energy transition,” he said, adding that Southeast Asia and East Asia must be at the forefront of climate action.
“So, while climate action and energy transition cannot be a matter of the rich countries dictating to the poor how it is to be achieved, it also cannot mean the former expecting the latter to pay its own way.
“Malaysia for its part hopes to pursue this in the COP 28 and other international forums,” Nik Nazmi said.
Southeast Asia is now home to a total population of nearly 670 million, ‘and this will only keep growing.’
“We are hence condemning multitudes to suffer and worse if we do not get the energy transition right.
“It has been said that there will be no Asian Century without Southeast Asia. Well, I humbly submit there will be no Asian Century without Southeast Asia and East Asia working together on a just and inclusive energy transition either,” he said.