REN21 recently attended Asia-Pacific Climate Week (APCW) 2019 held in Bangkok. Fifty percent of the global population lives in Asia and the region is responsible for over 45% of global CO2 emissions. It is important to support access to energy services while decarbonising. This creates tremendous potential for renewable energy uptake. This year, the event precedes the launch of our upcoming report on renewables in Asia: Asia and the Pacific Renewable Energy Status Report, which itself serves as key input to KIREC Seoul 2019. (This report will be launched 22 October, 2019– stay tuned !)
While at APCW REN21’s worked to bridge the energy and climate debate, meeting with various stakeholders in the region to try and make renewable energy relevant to climate decision-makers. We were a supporting organisation on two tracks: (1) the Energy Transition and (2) Infrastructures, Cities and Local Action: Buildings. REN21 spoke on panels about Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and a dynamic lunchtime session on Youth as an integral part of the energy transition in the Pacific region. Our Project Manager, Lea Ranalder was also at the Marrakech partnership meeting and met with REN21 community members, regional energy and cities experts to see how we can work collectively on driving the energy transition.
Some of the key takeaways from the week include:
- We need to shift from an electricity transition to a system-wide energy transformation, and consider how we can increase renewables in heating and cooling and transport sectors.
- There is a common misconception that renewables are not cost-competitive. Messages need to be framed in order to understand and address these concerns.
- We need to reframe the role of behavioral change. Behavioral change is a key component of the energy transition and needs to happen at the consumer level. But these changes also need to be enacted at a policy level.
- Renewables can increase energy security in Pacific Island states. There are still many questions about how to design effective renewable energy policies, and how to apply best practices from other countries to Pacific Island states.
Lea, who is also leading the work on REN21’s upcoming Renewables in Cities 2019 Global Status Report was particularly impressed by the Youth session, in which young representatives spoke about perceptions of climate change and climate action in their countries.
The Asia-Pacific Climate Week is one of three regional climate weeks organised by UNFCCC and held at UN ESCAP. The event aims to bridge a variety of actors to address climate change, climate action and progress on Sustainable Development Goals. The event was well attended and had a lively atmosphere. It was also a good opportunity to promote our upcoming regional status report on renewables in Asia.