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ADB to Double Clean Energy Investment

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The Asian Development Bank will double its annual clean energy investments to US$2 billion to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emission in developing Asia and to help in the global campaign against climate change, the regional lender said on Wednesday.

The bank has increased its clean energy investment from the previous US$1 billion annual investment as it's more urgent to reduce carbon emission in Asia, especially now that when it's home to some of the world's fastest growing economies, ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said in a press briefing held at the sidelines of the High Level Dialogue on Climate Change organized by ADB in Manila.

"Developing Asia already accounts for about one third of global greenhouse gas emissions, and unless urgent measures are taken to alter development patterns, the region's share could easily increase to 40 percent or higher by 2030," Kuroda said.

The increased clean energy investment, being part of the ADB's existing Energy Efficiency Initiative (EEI), will take effect on 201. The EEI has financed several renewable energy programs in Asia such as wind power in China, hydropower development in Bhutan and a biomass power plant in Thailand.

Kuroda's announcement came at a time when government officials, business leaders and civil society members all over the world are preparing for the next round of UN-led negotiations on climate change to be held in December in Copenhagen.

One of the most crucial issues being discussed is the lack of financing for projects meant to mitigate the impact of climate change.

As Kuroda himself noted, the annual US$2 billion is a "significant commitment" on the part of the ADB, but this "represents only a fraction of the region's financing needs in the area of clean energy."

Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, welcomes the additional funds provided by the ADB, noting there's need to "develop green technology and contribute to the global solution to climate change."

By green technology, Pachauri refers to technology "that don't have an impact on the environment" such as renewable energy.

Pachauri is hoping that the Copenhagen dialogue will lead to larger resources for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

(Xinhua News Agency June 17, 2009)

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