FEATURE: SRREN recommendations – challenges for Asian countries
The IPCC’s recently published Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN) focuses on Renewable Energy (RE) technology development, a subject that is already an integral part of national targets in developing countries of Asia.
For instance, Thailand has set the target to increase the share of alternative energy to fossil fuels to 20% in the total primary energy demand by 2022. Vietnam is aiming to increase the share of ethanol and biodiesel in gasoline and diesel to 5.0% in 2025 from 0.4% in 2010.
Similar ambitions have been laid out by Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar in their respective national plans. China has been at forefront in actively promoting the development of RE technologies and industries, and thus achieving the ability to domestically produce main RE equipment it uses.
SRREN has positioned RE technologies as feasible, market-oriented and demand-generating as well as fulfilling the goal of sustainable development. However, hydropower technology development in Asia should avoid or mitigate negative environmental, social and economic impacts. Similarly, the role of legal instruments, such as those pertaining to protected areas, as an element of policy framework deserves special attention. Also important in this realm is South-South collaboration programs established with support of multilateral mechanisms, e.g. Global Environment Facility (GEF), facilitating and promoting deployment and development of appropriate RE technologies of such kinds.
Importantly, effectiveness of a legal instrument in promoting RE technology is largely country specific, and therefore deserving thorough policy research before any country’s experience or success is replicated. Equally important are the challenges Asian countries will have to face while implementing SRREN recommendations. These are lack of financing mechanism for RE technology deployment and inadequate capacity for its management and deployment. The need of the hour is to enhance capacity of managing and adopting RE technologies of developing countries of Asia so that appropriate RE technologies could have their comparative advantages.
Li Lailai, PhD. is the Center Director, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) in Chulalongkorn University , Bangkok, Thailand. Over the last decade, she has been studying and generating solutions to poverty and environmental degradation in the field, through capacity building, information dissemination, program development and inducing institutional and policy changes. She also sits on the Board of Trustees of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the Board of Directors of China Environment Protection Foundation, and is a council member of Earth Charter International.