June 14, 2023

ADB’s Asia Clean Energy Forum 2023: Techno-fixes distract from real solutions


14 June, 2023

Photos available here

Manila, Philippines – A coalition of civil society organizations gathered yesterday in front of the headquarters of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) where the 18th Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) is being held from June 13th to 16th. They denounced the ADB’s consistent promotion of corporate-led energy transition and called on the multilateral development bank to commit to an urgent phase out of support for fossil fuels as well as to end support for unsustainable carbon and resource-intensive energy projects.

Chuck Baclagon, 350.org Asia Regional Campaigner says,

“The proposed solutions at this year’s ACEF reflect a misguided optimistic thinking that assumes the best outcome to come out of silver-bullet tech fixes. To truly decarbonize, we need to eliminate fossil fuels entirely. This not only reduces emissions but also enables greater access to energy by utilizing decentralized renewable sources like wind and solar power. The objective is to transform the financial system to prioritize clean, reliable, and affordable energy systems, ultimately achieving a fossil-free future that benefits both the people and our planet.”

The problematic solutions being peddled at the ACEF include fossil gas as transition fuel, mega-dams, waste-to-energy and experimental technology such as ammonia co-firing and carbon capture and storage. Climate activists have labeled these as false solutions and “detours” from an urgent phase out of oil, coal and gas

Civil society groups also noted that though the ADB has announced a plan for scaling-up financing for climate adaptation and mitigation through the “Innovative Finance Facility for Climate in Asia and the Pacific”, the support is primarily in the form of loans, meaning it risks exacerbation of already onerous illegitimate debt burdens shouldered by ADB’s borrowing member countries. 

Lidy Nacpil of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) says,

“What the people of Asia need is a rapid, direct, equitable, and just transition to 100% renewable energy systems. And the delivery of non-debt creating climate finance to make this happen. Carbon capture usage and storage and hydrogen schemes distract from real solutions to the climate crisis. Loan financing of these schemes also exacerbates debt burdens. Building CCUS infrastructure alongside existing fossil fuel facilities runs counter to a swift phase-out of dependency on coal, oil, and gas.  Efforts to blend a small amount of hydrogen into the gas grid or in power plants also don’t serve to reduce emissions. This will instead lock the region to fossil fuel energy for decades to come”.

350.org Philippines joined the activity outside ADB headquarters, alongside the NGO Forum on ADB, Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) Freedom from Debt Coalition, Recourse, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) – Asia Pacific, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Sanlakas, Oriang, and K4K


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