Demand for electricity will continue to rise in Asia, increasing to over 70 percent from 2010 to 2035, according to the Asian Development Bank.

The problem is that much of that will be generated through coal, a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions that’s leaving the planet warmer. Of the coal power plants being developed across the world, over 90 percent are in the Asian region, according to a 2016 assessment by E3G, an independent think tank on climate change.

 “I don’t believe there is clean coal.”

— Frank Rijsberman, director general of the Global Green Growth Institute

“Partly the argument was we should go for clean coal,” said Frank Rijsberman, director general of the Global Green Growth Institute, during the ADB’s 50th annual meeting in Yokohama, Japan. “I don’t believe there is clean coal.”

If there is such a thing, he said, it’s likely to be expensive.

This is why the success of world governments meeting the Paris Agreement on climate change of maintaining the global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius depends on what happens in Asia, he said. And it will depend not only on how willing governments are to invest in cleaner forms of energy in this part of the world, but also on the ability of institutions such as the ADB in persuading them in that direction.

Watch more of our conversation below with Rijsberman, including what he thinks the role the ADB can and should play in getting Asia to adopt cleaner forms of energy, and the overall drive for greener growth in the region.

Via YouTube
Via YouTube

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.