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ADB: Asia needs more green investments

Bank says clean energy is a "low hanging fruit" for Asian economies.

By Daniel J. Graeber
ADB: Asia needs more green investments
Wind turbines spin and generate power on the ridges of hills in Fujin, a frontier town in China's northern Heilongjiang Province. Asian Development Bank says more investments are needed to support sustainable economic development. File Photo by UPI/Stephen Shaver | License Photo

MANILA, June 17 (UPI) -- The Asian Development Bank said Wednesday renewable energy is a "low hanging fruit" that has yet to be harvested fully by Asian economies.

"Renewables are becoming more competitive as technology progresses," Bindu Lohani, an ADB vice president in charge of sustainable development, said at an Asian clean energy forum. However, the technology is "the low hanging fruit of energy efficiency is not being well picked in Asia."

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Developing Asian economies are expected to outperform most others on the global stage. In its latest assessment, the International Monetary Fund said China's economy should continue to outpace the rest of the world, though its trajectory is slowing. Labor markets are resilient and inflation is in check, however.

Last week, the U.N. Industrial Development Organization said China's growth agenda needs a sustainable direction. Energy efficiency programs, modernization of the industrial sector, coupled with pollution reduction schemes, are necessary for sustainable growth, it said.

The ADB said clean energy investments in Asia have eclipsed the $100 billion mark, with Chinese investments alone increasing by a factor of eight since 2006 to more than $80 billion, making it the largest destination for clean energy. For India, clean energy investments increased more than 30 percent since 2006 to $7.4 billion in 2014.

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For the ADB, its own financing for clean energy increased from $280 billion to more than $2.4 billion last year, making it the region's largest financial backer of clean energy developments.

Nevertheless, the bank said Asian economies combine for about 37 percent of all global emissions and dependency on fossil fuels remains high even though 600 million people in the region still lack access to electricity.

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