Events

  • The New Paradigm of Chinese Urban Development?

    International students visit four Chinese megacities to examine sustainable urbanisation concepts
    VENUE
    Hong Kong; Shenzhen; Wuhan; Guangzhou, PR China
    During a study trip to China, students and young professionals from Asia, Europe and the US will visit Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Shenzhen to examine new urbanisation concepts. The trip is organised by KAS RECAP and the Hong Kong-America Center.

     

    In recent years, China has started to take its unique responsibility in the global fight against climate change very seriously. The government has initiated a wide range of measures designed to save resources and reduce emissions. Sustainable urban development is a key component of China’s climate policy. The country is currently implementing various projects, ranging from innovative public transport concepts to the generation of renewable energies in urban areas and the establishment of eco cities on the outskirts of mega cities.

    These projects offer valuable lessons for urban development in other Asian countries, but also other continents. The two-week study trip to China will allow future decision makers from all over the world to learn about current developments and challenges. Participants will visit four cities in China and examine their development from different perspectives. Different working groups will take a closer looks at four over-arching topics: energy, environmental protection, infrastructure, and urbanization. Field trips and discussions with politicians, consultants, and the public will offer insights into the history, implementation and recent development of the projects. In addition, participants will summarize the trip’s findings and present their own recommendations for future urban development at an international urban development conference in Guangzhou.

    The four cities on the agenda each come from very different backgrounds and deal with a variety of challenges. As a Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong makes use of its possibility to pursue its own agenda. With its 2030+ goals, the city has designed an integrative concept for sustainable development until 2030. Shenzhen, the economically-thriving neighbor city of Hong Kong, uses its rapid growth to develop and build low-emission urban areas. Due to its excellent economic relations with other parts of the world, Shenzhen presents itself as an international blueprint of urban development in China. Wuhan, located by the Jangtse river in Central China, will most likely be affected by the rising water levels of China’s largest river – a direct result of climate change. Thus, Wuhan University has emerged as a pioneer in the field of Chinese climate change research. Guangzhou can look back on a 300-year old history as a hub for international trade. The city is located at the heart of Guangdong province, often nicknamed the “workshop of the world”. However, considering its growing population of currently 11 million citizens, the city needs to find ways to reduce its vast amounts of pollution

  • Meeting Energy Demands in Asia: 40th IAEE International Conference

    Implications for Energy and Environmental Markets
    VENUE
    Singapore
    In 2017, the world's leading energy economists will gather at the annual conference of the International Association of Energy Economics IAEE in Singapore. Around 500 participants will discuss Asian energy issues in their broader global context.

    Since energy policies cannot be addressed in isolation from their local and global environmental impacts, many of the conference sessions will address the issues relating to this inter-dependence. Thus, topics include the role of nuclear energy, developments in LNG markets, energy policy options in a carbon constrained world, emission trading schemes, renewable and alternative sources of energy, and the econometrics of oil and gas markets. More than 500 academics, analysts, policy makers and industry participants from all over the world are expected to attend.

    KAS RECAP will sponsor this international conference organized by its long-standing partner ESI and support the participation of young Asian energy economists.

    For further information see: IAEE 2017

  • Global Emissions Reductions: Motivations, Obstacles and Germany’s Role

    Presentation of an international KAS study
    VENUE
    Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore
    The Paris Agreement on climate change (COP21) aims at limiting global warming to well below two degrees Celsius. This can only be achieved through a fast and dramatic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). A new study by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) took a closer look at the emissions reduction policies of the world’s four largest producers of GHG: China, India, Russia and the USA – and examined how they view the German "Energiewende" (energy transition).

     

     

    China now accounts for roughly 30 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. In its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INCDs) at COP21, the country has pledged to peak its GHG emissions at around 2030 and dramatically increase its energy efficiency. Massive investment has to be made into renewable energies (RE), but fossil fuels will remain the main source of energy in the next decades. The global KAS survey clearly showed that China considers decarbonisation as a major factor in its comprehensive strategy to successfully upgrade its economy. It also aims at becoming a leader in global climate change policy after the USA recently announced a retreat.

    To what extent can the experiences of Germany’s “Energiewende” serve as a blueprint for China’s energy transition? In recent months, Mrs GU Alun, assistant professor at Tsinghua University, has conducted an extensive study on Germany’s energy transformation since the 1970s and its success factors and failures. On the occasion of the study presentation, Mrs Gu reported about her first findings. She emphasised the importance of a clear regulatory framework, effective economic incentives, and a deeper regional cooperation to trigger bigger investment into renewables (RE). It is the only way that China can achieve its ambitious goal of 80 percent RE in electricity consumption by 2050. The full text of the study will be published soon at www.kas.de/recap.

    In Hong Kong, the discussion quickly focused on the role of cities in combatting climate change. First, as a global infrastructure hub, Hong Kong needs to use its strength in creating fast and reliable transport like the MTR system, Mr Prashant Vaze, Head of Climate Change and Energy at WWF Hong Kong, argued. Furthermore, in 2012, Hong Kong International Airport pledged to become the world’s greenest airport and to significantly lower its carbon intensity. Samuel Kwong, Group Sustainable Development Manager at John Swire & Sons (H.K.) Ltd, added that the 2030+ goals are another example for Hong Kong’s commitment to sustainability. Second, the panelists said that Hong Kong should play a bigger role in green finance, especially if an emissions trading scheme is implemented in Asia.

    In Singapore, the presentation and a discussion were organised by the Energy Studies Institute (ESI), a long-standing partner of KAS RECAP. The Singapore government has announced ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions. As one of the largest port cities and a global aviation hub, greening of transport is among the biggest challenges. Due to its eminent role in the global financial system, the development of green finance products will play a crucial role to future business opportunities of the city. The debate also unveiled a series of obstacles for small-scale innovations and start-ups in the field of renewable und sustainable solutions. As a dominant player in ASEAN, Singapore also plays an important role in the integration of energy markets in Southeast Asia and serves as a role model for urban development, including the massive digitalization in effective resource management. The full version of the ESI/KAS study will be soon available at www.kas.de/recap/en

  • Sustainable Management in Europe and Asia

    Workshop on the role of climate and energy issues in EU-Asian economic cooperation
    VENUE
    Taipei, Taiwan
    Ensuring sustainability in global management as well as climate and energy policy was the focus of the 6th Workshop on EU-Asian Relations, organised by KAS RECAP in cooperation with UACES and the European Union Centre in Taiwan. 60 experts and young professionals from European and Asian think tanks, universities and enterprises met in Taipei to discuss the complex challenges ahead of a stronger regional cooperation.

     

    The protectionist stance on trade and the climate change skepticism of the new US administration have created new incentives for Europe and Asia to strengthen their historically close relationship even further. The concept of sustainability – both economically and environmentally – is a key concern that both sides of the Eurasian continent increasingly seek to incorporate into their regional and national policy agendas. While this commitment was most recently put on display at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2016, stark differences between many of the national political and economic systems persist. Thus, the KAS UACES workshop sought to inspire participants in finding new solutions to challenges that both regions are facing.

    Multiple high-ranking European diplomats also visited the conference to give lectures. Madeleine Majorenko, director of the European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan, used her keynote speech to highlight the unique leadership role of the EU in global energy and climate policy. Martin Eberts, director the German Institute in Taipei, outlined the current state of German-Taiwan relations and emphasized the future potential of a stronger cooperation in economic matters and in the area of energy policy.

    Grouped by topics such as “The Belt and Road Initiative” or “Legal Frameworks”, experts and business leaders presented their research findings, experiences, and concepts in multiple panels. Participants used the Q&A sessions to debate arguments and recommendations. The presentations and discussions covered a wide range of topics, which focused on the following overarching questions of a future EU-Asian cooperation.

    A) Sustainable Development: What impact do global politics have on the Transeurasian cooperation? How can both sides overcome their political differences in order to remove obstacles and consolidate support for sustainable policies? What are the possibilities and constraints of green investment?

    B) New Silk Road: What potential does the “One Belt One Road” initiative (OBOR) offer the two subcontinents it aims to connect? How should Europe interact with China in order to benefit from OBOR while also asserting its own interests? Which diplomatic, regulatory, and technical challenges do both regions have to tackle?

    C) Energy policy: Can the German energy transition serve as a blueprint for East Asian countries and if so, how should it be adapted? What implications do China’s plans for increasing nuclear power generation have for Europe? What consequences do foreign investments have on the energy demand of the Chinese economy?

    D) Environmental protection and urbanisation: How successful are the current plans for urban development in China? To what extent can Asian cities learn from the European experience? How could China switch to nationwide electromobility?

    Ad A: Strengthening the cooperation between China and the EU has become even more urgent in recent months due to the altered views of climate change and an ambiguous foreign policy of the third major actor on the global stage, the United States. While Europe and China have a lot in common, it remains unclear to what extent diverging views on human rights, competition rules, and appropriate political intervention in the economy will impact future cooperation. Trade embargoes complicate the relationship even further. A Free Trade Agreement between the two regions has not been established yet, but would likely require China to agree to wide-ranging reforms. On the business level, green bonds and investments seem promising, but are still in their infancy.

    Ad B: Like its historic predecessor, the New Silk Road stretches from China to Europe. The Chinese government has started to invest in Eastern European infrastructure projects (in addition to Central Asia) and in return expects a privileged access to regional and local markets. The EU is set to mark the starting point of an efficient network of rail transport to East Asia. As a result of the “One Belt One Road” initiative, the exchange of human capital, goods, and services, but also of good practices, is set to grow faster than ever before. However, according to a news analysis, China usually does not consider the EU as a serious partner – the organization’s role in the Silk Road Initiative being a notable exception. Instead, China tends to focus on bilateral relations to more powerful European countries such as Germany or France.

    Ad C: The German Energy Transition is met with great interest in Asia. While most countries in the region praise Germany as a role model, many doubt whether the German model can serve as a blueprint for Asia. Still, Taiwan has officially declared its commitment to following the example of the German “Energiewende”. Only time will tell if the liberalisation of the Taiwanese energy economy will support the development of renewable energy as claimed by the national government. According to research of workshop participant, both the adaptation of concepts and the transfer of capital to Asia have a positive impact on the Chinese energy sector. For example, factories in Northern China that are built using foreign investments use significantly less energy than their locally-financed counterparts.

    Ad D: The previous Five-Year Plans have proposed ambitious aims for environmental protection in China. Multiple pilot projects of sustainable and low-carbon city areas are currently being implemented, for instance in Shenzhen and Ningbo. Since both cities are home to international harbours, the Chinese government can hope for a boost in public image. Similar projects, albeit on a much smaller scale, are scattered throughout China. In some cases, they are initiated by the Chinese government in cooperation with NGOs like the WWF. However, case studies have shown that coordination between the executing authorities and the public remains difficult. Other Chinese initiatives focus on making transport more sustainable. Some harbours have already set their own goals for the reduction of carbon emissions. Furthermore, public-private partnerships are supposed to help realise a vast network of publicly available charging station for electric vehicles.

    As a final highlight of the workshop, KAS RECAP, UACES, and the European Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan invited participants to a luncheon discussion, where business leaders shared their views on the potential and challenges of a stronger cooperation on the Eurasian continent. A detailed report of the event can be found here.

  • The Regulation of Energy Investments Along the „Belt and Road“

    International conference on international energy law
    VENUE
    Hong Kong, PR China
    Energy is a central aspect of China’s “One Belt – One Road” (OBOR) policy. It is of strategic importance for China to ensure a secure and reliable supply of external energy resources to the Chinese market. Central Asia and Russia play an increasingly important role in this respect. And Europe as well has to find an answer to this dynamic development. However, the energy investment environment in these countries is challenging.

     

    The annual meeting on Regional Energy Cooperation in Asia (RECA) is an important platform for Eurasian countries to discuss current topics of energy cooperation. This year KAS RECAP, the Chinese University of Hongkong (CUHK) and the Energy Energy Charter (Brussels) jointly organized a two-days workshop on Energy investments along the “Belt and Road”. The meeting was attended by leading energy law experts from Europa, Central Asia, and China – both academia and business. In her keynote speech, Madam Yvonne Choi, commissioner for Belt and Road of Hongkong government highlighted the huge importance and changes for Hongkong as a node in Eurasian legal and financial cooperation.

    The following sessions focused on four fields of interest:

    • The evolution of regional and global energy markets under the impact of the OBOR initiative and China´s rising power, and how to create reliable governance structures
    • The role of international and nation laws in this respect
    • The crucial role of transborder trade and transit and how to make investments safe
    • The impact of the China´s OBOR strategy on the development of its neighboring countries.

     

    Ad 1) It has become clear that OBOR will unleash its economic potential successfully only if it is considered as a truly multilateral project. China has to invest more in the creation of governance structure with mutual benefit to all countries along OBOR. The evolution of the strategic axis provides – in the best case – a great opportunity to mutual learning. It might also enhance regional and global stability and hopefully, overcomes the thread of a revival of 19th century “great game” in Central Asia. Europe should also seek for a more active role as a normative power.

    Ad 2) The specific instruments, state and private actors and diverse governance structures along OBOR create quite a number of challenges for the national and international law, bi- and multilateral agreements. Huge investments in infrastructure go far beyond pure commercial projects – not least to the fact that main stakeholders are state-owned enterprises or at least private companies, which are massively backed by governments. Better legal protection by an enhanced transnational law might mitigate some of the potential conflicts (i.e. access to and transfer of resources; access to arbitration in case of conflicts). But the political implications of energy investments go far beyond the capacity of any legal system. Further political agreements and security mechanisms have to be established.

    Ad 3) Recent examples of Chinese investment projects show a rather project-based approach, including far-reaching exemptions from national energy/resource law regulations. This might create political resistance in the respective country, delegitimize future projects and becomes a source of security threads. China and other partner have to make huge efforts in understanding the complex interaction between investment and political, economic and social impetus. International agencies like the Energy charter should strengthen their efforts to improve international regulatory frameworks and become a platform for pro-active conflict settlement.

    Ad 4) China has promoted its OBOR initiative as a big opportunity for economic development and increasing wealth – both for its own economy and society as well as for its neighboring countries. Yet, infrastructure investment does not necessarily guarantee economic and social progress. Central Asian countries have to carefully look into the opportunities as well as into potential risks of domestic and transborder conflicts related to extraction of natural resources. The interests of other main powers like Russia and the EU have also to be carefully considered to avoid increasing geostrategic conflicts. This is likewise true for China's neighbors in East and South East Asia, which face similar challenges in China´s rise and outreach.

    KAS RECAP will continue its cooperation with CUHK and Energy Charter: to strengthen Euro-Asian cooperation in the field of energy and to promote Hongkong's role as a center for academic and business excellence in OBOR.

    A more in-depth report will soon be published on www.kas.de.

  • Who is liable for the impacts of climate change?

    New approaches for the distribution of climate compensation
    VENUE
    Hong Kong, PR China
    The Paris Agreement COP21 one more time has highlighted the need of the global community to develop mechanisms of balancing climate induced loss and damage. Opinions differ widely as how such compensation shall be designed. KAS RECAP and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) together with experts from Europe and Asia elaborated innovative solutions.

     

    Mitigation and adaptation to climate change are the two pillars of global climate politics. These issues have been considered widely in national climate strategies. An equally important questions however is not yet answered: How shall a compensation for states and (groups of) persons whose livelihood is threatened by the impacts of climate change be implemented? The best known example are small islands in the South Pacific which will submerge in the rising sea level. But climate induced migration is also part of this problem.

    These challenges have for a quite long time been subject to the discussions of scientific and financial experts. Different models have been developed so far. However, important legal and financial aspects are still unsettled and disputed. What is the current state of discussions? Are there already first projects from which chances and limits of such instruments can be derived? Which role can insurances play in contrast to other financial instruments?

    For achieving answers to these challenges, RECAP and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) on 17 and 18 February 2017 organised a two-day workshop in Hong Kong, China. PIK is among the most renowned European institutions doing research about the future impacts of climate change an nature and mankind.

    Dr. Peter Hefele, Director of RECAP, and Prof. Dr. Detlef Sprinz, Senior Scientist at the Research Domain "Transdisciplinary Concepts & Methods" at PIK inaugurated the workshop. They delineated the diverse aspects of the topic and its conceptual as well as practical challenges in their view.

    Despite substantial progress in modelling climate change and its impacts, a large gap between scientific findings and its applicability for concrete decisions in politics and economy remains. This is reinforced by the complex nature and interdependencies of (possible) effects. The core question of any discussion about the compensation of damage is which damages are caused by whom and how the effects can/must be attributed.

    Till now, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was the main entity to deal with this problem in its international agreements, but other supranational and national legal systems are concerned as well. When addressing the question of financial compensation, an amount of aspects must be considered, for example issues of judicial foundations of claims, distributional effects and principles for evaluation.

    Estimating risks and their transfer in the middle and long run is a core task of the financial and insurance economy. Indeed, traditional models for risk assessment have their limits when dealing with the impacts of climate change. Representatives of risk management and financial institutes referred to concrete cases in order to explain the possibilities and limits of such instruments. Especially the economic incentives of concrete solutions as well as their impacts on adaptation and mitigation should be considered more thoroughly.

    Despite many unsolved questions, there are already some practical approaches to compensation. The island states of the pacific (AOSIS states) for instance, which are already directly threatened by the rising sea level, have founded an own risk assessment and financing initiative. It is intended to distribute the financial burden and lowering the risk for the small, economically weak countries considerably. Among the (re)insurances, the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative MCII - a consortium of leading reinsurances in Europe - is fostering the development of new business models.

    All participants agreed unanimously that due to the accelerating pace of climate change new solutions are to be developed urgently. Global warming makes measures of compensation more expensive - and politically less enforceable. At the same time, it became obvious that financial compensation measures are economically reasonable only in combination with other elements such as measures for capacity building, a general improvement of good governance or a sensible integration of different dimensions of action.

    Besides delineating the current situation, the workshop was also intended to identify thematic fields which require further research efforts and political regulation. This aim was accomplished by working groups who assembled in the concluding session of the event. The working group "law" identified a necessity to deal with issues such as the legal regulation of damages, a reformation of criminal law, and an assessment of damages of the cultural heritage of humanity. A special problem of international law is the national sovereignty (or its continuity) of the atoll countries in the Pacific which are likely to submerge entirely within the coming decades. Climate induced migration was also mentioned as legal challenge.

    From a business perspective, there's no lack of data. The challenge consists rather in evaluating the quality of data, in interpreting and adapting it for economic decision processes. Furthermore, enterprises must get aware of the complex impacts of climate change on their entire value chain and adapt accordingly.

    Possible future models of compensation for climate change impacts need to take account of the different political and administrative dimensions of action. This calls for connecting the various mechanisms of cooperation. Only then the needs of affected parties can be considered appropriately. They should be involved actively and not just receive support from outside. Carbon pricing or a kind of global distribution of financial burdens are possible future sources for funds of compensation.

    In the coming weeks, PIK will compile a policy paper with concrete recommendations for further discussions and research.

  • Mapping the Existential Threats of Climate Change

    Security Implications for Bangladesh
    VENUE
    Dhaka, Bangladesh
    Bangladesh is well recognized as one of the most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change. In recent years, as the weather patterns become increasingly extreme and unpredictable, security concerns have been raised. The upcoming KAS publication puts a specific focus on the climate-related security issues in Bangladesh.

     

    In collaboration with the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS), KAS RECAP held a joint seminar to present the latest findings of a new KAS-funded study on "Energy Security and Climate Change in South Asia: a Threat Analysis for Bangladesh" on 23 January 2017 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The seminar was attended by country ambassadors and senior diplomats, heads of international organizations, civil society leaders, academics, media and young professionals.

    The keynote presentation of the research work was made by Professor Abu Zayed Mohammed, Research Fellow, BIPSS. Chaired by the President of BIPSS Major General ANM Muniruzzaman (retd), the discussion session was introduced by Dr. Peter Hefele, Director, Regional Project, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and Ms. Ina F Islam, Assistant Director at the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCAD), Independent University, Bangladesh.

    Prof. Mohammed highlighted the role of climate change as a threat multiplier, which can have serious negative impacts on water security, food security, livelihood security and etc. Especially for Bangladesh, climate change is rather an existential threat. According to the field study results, the number of local people who expressed concerns on the climate-induced threats has significantly increased. If the impacts of climate change are not effectively and timely addressed, it can potentially destabilize the country socially, politically and economically as well as the whole region.

    Several ways to deal with climate change in Bangladesh have been discussed. At the national level, there is a need to raise awareness about security implications of climate change among each sector in the society and engage every stakeholder in climate actions. Regionally and internationally, mutual exchange and cooperation between actors and countries has to be strengthened further and in a larger extent to achieve transfer of knowledge and know-how.

    The study will be published in the coming few weeks on www.kas.de.

  • Climate Paradiplomacy and Leadership in Asia

    Luncheon symposium on the role of Hong Kong and Singapore in global climate policy
    VENUE
    Hong Kong, PR China
    During a luncheon seminar organized by KAS and the Environmental Management Association, the main results of a KAS/RECAP funded research study on climate change governance of Singapore and HK were presented. More specifically, the study investigates how these two cities 'act globally' through transnational networks.

     

    On 17 November, KAS RECAP and EMAHK invited Professor Maria Francesch, Fellow of the Center of Urban Studies and Urban Planning (CUSUP) at the University of Hong Kong, for a luncheon discussion on the topic of Climate Paradiplomacy & Leadership in Asia. Professor Francesch presented main findings of her recently published study “Transnational Climate Change Networks on the example of Singapore and Hong Kong: New Forms of Authority or Mobilization Mechanisms to Secure Consent?”. This research project was funded by KAS RECAP in 2016.

    Mr. Shaun Martin, Environmental Education Consultant with ‎Civic Exchange, welcomed around 60 guest from universities, local NGO and business community. Following this, Dr. Peter Hefele, Director of KAS RECAP embraced the opportunity to introduce the work of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, in particular of RECAP.

    Dr. Francesch began her lecture quoting Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, who pointed towards the necessity of trust in successful political negotiations. She linked this to global climate diplomacy by indicating that transnational networks by and for cities form the basis for successful climate negotiations. The comparison between Singapore and Hongkong, behaving in global climate politics, clearly showed the importance of transnational leadership.

    However, her findings also indicate some important differences between the two countries/cities. In her conclusions, Dr. Francesch emphasized the need to act global while thinking and deliberating on the local level at the same time. According to her opinion cities need to be regarded “as a space of culture formed by local context and identity, reshaping itself in conjunction with other cities across time and space”.

    After the lecture a vital question & discussion round followed, covering essential issues to Hong Kong future green policy. It became clear that scientific knowledge has to be play a much more important role in political decision making processes.

  • Energy Storage Summit Japan 2016

    International symposium in cooperation with Messe Düsseldorf
    VENUE
    Tokyo, Japan
    Energy storage is one of the main bottlenecks in sustaining further growth of renewable energies. KAS RECAP presented its work at the 2016 Energy Storage Summit in Japan and participated in a panel discussion on Germany's “Energiewende”.

     

    Technological progress in energy, and in particular electricity storage, has been remarkable – both in small, middle and large scale, as well as in stationary and mobile applications. Yet, the installed capacity of energy storage systems is far beyond of what is needed to stabilise grid systems, to promote a more decentralised energy architecture and to increase energy efficiency.

    ESSJ Japan, organised by Messe Düsseldorf, has become the leading platform of exchange in Asia for providers and experts of energy storage solutions. For the second time, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung RECAP contributed to this international fair.

    More than 200 participants and exhibitors rallied up during the two days event at Tokyo Belle Salle exhibition ground, providing RECAP with plenty of opportunities to present its scope of activities in the Asia Pacific region to an international audience of companies‘ representatives and experts from politics and media.

    The role of storage solutions in the framework of the German Energiewende was debated in a public session, and chaired by RECAP director Dr. Peter Hefele. The panel participants from innovative German companies and research institutions presented their latest products and new approaches in storing energy and integrating this technology into an increasingly complex energy system architecture.

    Other panels compared solutions, which are currently under development in Japan, the US and Europe. It become clear that despite the current dominance of lithium-ion batteries, a bunch of other technologies will be available in the near future – to better serve different needs in storing energy and stabilising energy supply. To spur these developments, further improvements in regulatory frameworks, financing and research policies have to be achieved.

    Further information can be found on the website of the ESSJ summit.

  • Emerging Issues in Global Climate Governance after Paris

    International workshop brings together perspectives from Asia and Europe
    VENUE
    Hong Kong, PR China
    Despite the great achievements of the Paris Climate change conference COP21 much more decisive steps must be taken by the global community in order to keep global warming below 2 degree. KAS RECAP and Tongji University Shanghai invited 30 international experts to Hong Kong to jointly elaborate new cross-cutting concepts for Europe and Asia.

     

    The overarching goal of the international community to limit global warming to a maximum of 2 or even 1.5 degrees can only be achieved by joint efforts of a large number of different stakeholders of all fields and levels, including nation states but also cities, communities, companies, industrial sectors and non-governmental organizations.

    As part of their contributions to strengthen transnational climate change network building, in particular between China and Europe, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung RECAP and Tongji University organized a workshop on key dimensions of a future climate governance system. Experts from academia, politics and business from China, European and Asian countries discussed three thematic fields:

    • Engaging transnational actors, like cities, in global climate discourse and action
    • Better connecting science and decision making in drafting new and effective concepts of and approaches for climate policy
    • Incentivizing and modeling socio-technical innovations across (eco) systems

    The workshop aimed on defining progressive links between global climate governance and policy-making on the national level after the Paris COP21 agreement.

    The first panel of the workshop dealt with the challenge of strengthening transnational co-ordination in climate politics. The negotiations and the success of COP21 clearly showed the importance of sub- and transnational actors such as local administrations, NGOs etc. The panel explored how these actors can even more effectively shape future global climate governance and influence political dynamics. Actors from developed countries are still dominant and the capacity of those from emerging countries has to be strengthened.

    Cities and regional governments play a complementary role and are able to act quite flexible — but this will not diminish the function and responsibility of national governments, because a sort of “orchestrating” of different efforts is needed. Creating greater transparency on emissions and environmental impacts, both on parts of countries as of enterprises, is a prerequisite for mutual trust and in speeding up global climate mitigation efforts. In this respect the development of reliable and trustworthy methodologies to coherently measure GHG emissions by different kinds of actors and at different levels is necessary as well as the enhancement of legal frameworks and green financing mechanisms.

    Probably more than in any political field, climate change mitigation and adaption have to be based on state-of-the art scientific research. Yet, the nexus between both ”worlds” is often fragile, ambiguous and prejudiced. The second panel looked into improving science-policy interfaces. It is for instance important to closer look into the different “functions” of global climate change agreements, i.e. in their role of legitimating national politics or laying the basis for claims about loss & damages on part of developing countries.

    This creates inconsistences in the daily politics and threatens to devaluate evidence-based policy approaches. However, accepting that these ambiguities are inevitable, to a certain degree, and a prerequisite allowing for joint climate actions means to understand better the political processes at the heart of the science-policy nexus.

    In the field of science and technologies the aforementioned gap between industrialized and developing countries is evident. And given the importance of climate change mitigation and potential damages, global expenditures on R&D are far too low – an issue, the UNFCCC mechanism has to address urgently. The ongoing debate on IPR protection remains a major obstacle in deeper cooperation between China and the EU. Future regional and global trade agreements have to find proper solutions as massive and systematic transfer of know-how is seen by many (developing) countries as crucial for substantial progress in climate change mitigation. In this context the challenge for countries like China in the process of decarbonizing the economy lays in not getting stuck in a middle-income trap and more scientific ad-vice is needed how to link climate mitigation with industrial and technology policies.

    The third session explored the highly complex interdependencies of climate change effects across diverse fields and systems and related actions to mitigate and adapt. Currently we face an unpleasant uncertainty in scientific knowledge if it comes to understanding and de-signing effective policy measures that span different social, technical and natural systems. Positive externalities of climate change, i.e. in public health or job creation, are plausible but hard to prove. So-called “rebound effects” may even hamper hard-won gains, which also points at deeply rooted behavioral changes to be addressed.

    It is quite obvious that there is a huge potential of mutual exchange of ideas and anticipative learning between China and Europe as both regions are very dynamic in terms of new policy concepts and innovations. A good example is the emission trading system (ETS) which is already established in Europe and is to be implemented in China on a national level next year.

    The fourth panel reviewed the political mechanisms of climate governance processes: spanning from the shortcomings of the Kyoto Protocol and Copenhagen to the use of scientific prognosis tools for predicting outcome of future climate change negotiations and the ambiguity of geo-engineering. With the emergence of “polycentric” regimes (not only in climate governance), linking different fields of actions together effectively is one of the biggest challenges in international relations. It is quite obvious that a successful sustainable transformation – might it be on global, national or local level – can only be achieved throughout a multi-stakeholder process. In this respect the case of geoengineering is a good example as it opens the ground for both far-reaching ethical debate on shared and differentiated responsibilities and showcases the political complexities of large-scale technological “solutions” that are increasingly emerging on the horizon of decision makers.

    Based on the findings of the presentations and discussions, four working groups collected ideas and elaborated suggestions for concrete cooperation between China and Europe: ambitions and accounting of transnational climate mitigation actions, low carbon innovations, improved science-policy interfaces, coupling of energy system transformations; the vivid discussions made clear that there are plenty of political, technical and social concepts and mechanisms in climate policy which can be optimized and improved. Only if China and Europe enhance cooperation in business, research, modeling, and policy making, a significant progress on the road towards a low-carbon society can be achieved.

    The following suggestions were articulated to point out and/or to build on key convergences between China and Europe in the context of the new bottom-up dynamic of post-Paris climate governance:

    • China and the European Union can act as leaders of an „orchestration“ in subnational / transnational climate actions, linking national and local levels within the UNFCCC
    • Globally consistent approaches and methodologies of measuring and accounting for subnational mitigation efforts need to be developed;
    • Establish a framework for R&D streamlining and long-term technological innovation on a global scale (multi-stake holder and / G20) based on an ambitious and strategic EU-Chinese cooperation;
    • Create a data bank for all patent free low carbon technologies to facilitate their global transfer and employment;
    • Energy system transitions in China and Europe need to be jointly envisioned as conceptually, technically, and commercially linked. The global dimensions of “Energiewende” offer many opportunities to develop collaborative modeling, planning, and implementing post-carbon developments and policies. Mid- and long-term complementarities and synergies need to be deliberately designed and deepened in order to fully realize potentials of, and accelerate the progress of decarbonization;
    • China and Europe should broaden and deepen law carbon cooperation much more energetically, e.g. including joint research projects, fostering e-mobility, joining de-carbonization efforts in third countries, envisioning post-fossil urbanities, enabling long-term coordination of strategic R&D funding;
    • China and Europe should improve the mutual understanding of different national scientific cultures and institutional differences of scientific advice as well as evidence-based policy making, risk perceptions, and centralized planning processes.

     

    A joint position paper that pinpoints promising convergences and pathways for European-Chinese collaboration in global climate governance will soon be available on www.kas.de.

  • Walkability as contribution to sustainable urban development

    Global initative Walk21 in Asia for the first time
    VENUE
    Hong Kong, PR China
    Since the year 2000, international experts annually meet at Walk21, a global forum to develop new traffic concepts in metropolitan areas. Their main focus is to make urban spaces more walkable as part of a sustainable mobility concept.

     

    On invitation of KAS RECAP German experts will contribute to this global debate on the opportunity of Hong Kong hosting this event for the first time in Asia.

    The main focus will be on modern information systems for energy efficient and sustainable mobility concepts - as Germany and Europe already provide interesting pilot projects.

    Please find further information about the programme on the Walk21 website.

  • Capacity Building Workshop for Cambodian Policy Makers

    Accelerating the Transition to a Sustainable Energy Future
    VENUE
    Phnom Penh, Cambodia
    Many developing countries like Cambodia face the task of developing a comprehensive and stable energy system. But they also bear responsibility towards climate change mitigation. Therefore, politics and society have to find new answers to the question of how to combine development and the higher energy demand with sustainability.

    Cambodia is one of the countries in Southeast Asia, which will be affected the most by climate change. However, the energy demand is rising massively at the same time due to its population, the industrial basis, and wealth and consumption rapidly growing.

    In order to achieve both goals - development and sustainability - the Cambodian government has to make fundamental decisions on its future energy system. The energy mix of the future should contain a considerable amount of renewable energy. Currently it is only at a 1-2 percent. Yet, there is a high potential for renewable energy, especially in solar and biomass. In this respect this should come along with a more decentralized production to make energy supply more reliable. Which aspects of the national energy system have to be transformed? What experiences from other countries should be considered in the process of redesigning the current system? These questions had been at the center of a workshop organized by KAS RECAP and the newly established, independent think tank Enrich institute, based in Phnom Penh. The event brought together decision makers from different Cambodia ministries, local NGOs and interested students. They aimed at discussing the specific challenges of a Cambodian “Energiewende” and at preparing tailor-made proposals.

    Toss Sovanna, director for renewable energy in the ministry for mining and energy, opened the workshop. He emphasized the great importance of the Cambodian government towards sustainable energy production and usage. Less dependence on fossil commodity imports and increased usage of existing renewable energy sources are supposed to be prerequisites for further economic development of the country. New technologies as well as the experiences from Europe shall contribute to this ambitious goal.

    From a scientific perspective, Dr. Pheakdey Heng, founder and head of the Enrich Institute, explained why the “Energywende” is necessary for Cambodia as well. Especially fossil electricity generation causes a considerable amount of the greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, there is huge potential for wind and solar energy especially on the rural areas. Whilst the of potential of hydroenergy along the Mekong is huge, severe impacts on the water regime of the country and massive ecological implications for the overall region can already be observed. Further, the rapidly growing industrial sector in Cambodia needs to undertake huge efforts tp be more energy efficient. On the other hand access to energy for the rural population is the key to reduce poverty and increase productivity.

    On various examples in Europe, Dr. Birgit Wetzel, a free-lance journalist from Berlin, showed how a comprehensive “Energiewende” can be successfully established. She hinted at the fact that readiness to innovation and the usage of local resources had been key factors in Germany´s “Energiewende”. However, Mrs. Wetzel emphasized that there is not one general pathway as each country is supposed to find his own energy mix. In this context nuclear energy is often seen as a a cheap and climate friendly alternative for many developing countries. However, the expert from Germany pointed towards the well-known disadvantages and risks of this technology – and assume that going nuclear cannot be considered a sustainable solution for Cambodia.

    To increase the share of renewable energy, an appropriate regulatory frame must be established. Dr. Peter Hefele, director of KAS RECAP, explained what has to be considered and presented numerous examples from Asia and Europe.

    Whilst there are interesting and applicable concepts to extend the production and use of renewable energy, many of them are not viable as appropriate financing models are lacking. Christophe Bongars, an international financial consultant and CEO of SustainAsia, showed appropriate pathways for financing new and sustainable energy projects. His case studies impressively showed that direct investments by the government are not necessarily needed. Reliable information, a transparent regulatory framework and successful pilot projects can attract private investors as well. After the lectures the participants came together in two groups in order to draft recommendations for a future Cambodian energy policy. During intensive discussions they identified several decisive issues for a “Energiewende” in Cambodia.

    Cambodian media reported on this event. You can find the article including an interview of Dr. Peter Hefele with Phnom Penh Post under the following link.

  • Climate change and energy security in Southeast Asia

    Workshop for Cambodian journalists
    VENUE
    Sihanoukville, Cambodia
    Climate change and energy security are two of the most burning issues we face today. Media professionals share a great responsibility to raise awareness and change behavior. To deepen their knowledge on energy security and climate change as well as their skills in investigative techniques, young students of journalism and professional journalists came together in Sihanoukville/Cambodia. Guided by experienced journalists from Germany the participants developed concrete projects, which will conducted in the field in the coming weeks.

    Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung has a long record of training young journalist in Cambodia. The renowned "Department of Media and Communication"(DMC) at the Royal University of Cambodia has become the most renowned institution for professional journalist training in Cambodia. To deepen and broaden investigative skills, in particular in the field of energy security and climate change, KAS invited around 30 students d professional journalists for a weekend training seminar to Sihanoukville. Experts from different professions have been invited to share their expertise with the participants and to introduce the participants to the different facets of the topic as well as to train in appropriate reporting approaches and techniques.

    Day 1

    Dr. Peter Hefele, Director of KAS RECAP Hongkong, addressed main strains and issues connected to climate change in the region. He emphasized the important role of students and journalists in the process of mitigating climate change. Afterwards, Mr. Rene Gradwohl, Director of KAS Cambodia introduced the work of KAS in Cambodia.

    Dr. Andreas Oldag, long-term DAAD lecturer at DMC and one the two trainers, outlined the ever important role of climate change in the today´s media. Finally a general overview about the global climate change situation was given by Mrs. Dr. Birgit Wetzel, free-lance journalist from Germany.

    Day 2

    On Saturday morning the workshop started with an introduction by Dr. Hefele on the importance of establishing sustainable growth and the dilemma of development and climate protection. He pointed towards the critical role of population and economic growth as driving forces for rapidly increasing energy consumption in Southeast Asia. He highlighted the importance of an open and innovative policy agenda in designing a new energy system. From a journalist point of view Mr. Andreas Oldag gave a concise introduction into the challenges of modern journalism and its importance for accurately reporting on climate change issues. As a longterm experts with GIZ Cambodia, Mr. Claudius Bredehoeft, referred specifically to the impacts of climate change on Cambodia´s agriculture and nutrition industry. Despite severe negative effects as droughts and floods, Mr. Bredehoeft pointed towards proactive approaches and innovative solutions already implemented by local farmers in Cambodia.

    After lectures and short discussion rounds , the participants were supposed to form working groups of 3-4 people to develop a draft concept for a concrete reportage to be realized in the coming weeks. The process of structuring and approaching relevant topics was closes guided and coached by media experts.

    Day 3

    Andreas Oldag opened the final session with an overview on news format, featuring techniques and basic challenges of investigative journalism. He explained on how to write an appealing and interesting articles. Mrs. Wetzel brought in her long-term experience on radio and TV. For the remaining day the groups, and due to the active approach and a very vivid exchange with all the experts, all seven groups were supposed to developed and presented consistent concepts for their field trip. These topics ranged from sustainable farming over deforestation and recycling to the political framework of climate change in Cambodia.

    The results of the investigations will be publicly presented in a follow-up event, organized by KAS and META House in Phnom Phen on 23 November 2016.

  • Adaptation to climate change in South and South East Asia

    Regional workshop and national case studies
    VENUE
    Kathmandu, Nepal
    Climate change has already dramatic impacts on South and South East Asia. Understanding the increasing threats and implementing necessary adaptation measures are essential for the future development of the countries within these regions.

     

    Rising sea-levels, severe droughts and floods, extreme weather events and the melting of the Himalaya glaciers are only a few consequences that the Asia-Pacific-Region is increasingly facing. Societies in South and South East Asia that already try to overcome poverty and underdevelopment are particularly affected. Many people who live on agriculture or settle in coastal or mountainous regions are at high risk. Weather-related crop failures or devastating meteorological events as a result of climate change threatens their livelihood. Especially the poorer population often do not have the capacity to adapt to the changing situations. Thus, promoting the adaptation to climate change is of high importance for the two sub-regions. Appropriate adaptation mechanisms can contribute to reduce the risk potential of countries and mitigate the risk of disastrous impacts.

    Together with experts from ten different South and South East Asian countries the regional workshop will identify threats and challenges for the region and discuss different approaches to adapt to climate change. Basis for the discussion are the findings of a series of country studies that RECAP has initiated in order to map and analyze the challenges in various countries within South Asia. Representatives of the central and local government, enterprises and non-governmental organizations will bring together different perspectives and promote the intra-regional and cross-sectoral dialogue. Finally, future adaptation strategy proposals will be developed in working groups and presented among the participants.

  • Asian insights into European energy and climate politics

    Study trip to Germany and Brussels
    VENUE
    Berlin, Hamburg, Germany; Brussels, Belgium
    An open discourse and continuous exchange of ideas is a key factor on the path towards global climate and energy cooperation. RECAP invites experts from different Asian countries to experience the European approaches on a study trip in June 2016.

    The complex interdependencies of climate change, energy security and sustainable economic development cannot be tackled by a single regions on its own. For combined efforts, decision makers and the civil society of different regions need to exchange concepts, values and experiences. Europe and its member states have been strongly committed to climate politics for a long time. EU is currently implementing a variety of policies and projects, ranging from the extended use of renewable energies and reduction of dependence on fossil resources to strict emission regulations and national climate action plans. It is obvious that these valuable experiences shall be shared with other regions. Asia, the continent with the fastest growing population, economy and demand for energy, plays a crucial role in mitigating the world’s temperature rise and transforming its economies toward a more sustainable one.

    The purpose of the study trip is to acquaint Asian representatives with Europe`s and Germany`s attempts to tackle with energy and climate challenges. By visiting institutions and doing field trips throughout Europe, the participants will get a concrete impression of a variety of initiatives and policy making processes. A special focus is on the German Energy transition "(Energiewende)". The exchange is supposed to be mutual: participants of both regions will bring in their views and discuss how to develop new concepts in the Asian context. The participants come from all Asian subregions and are working in different fields such as academia, journalism and NGOs.

    The first destination is the German capital Berlin. The participants will meet with representatives of the German government, industry, members of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and media. In Hamburg, European Green Capital in 2011, the programme includes meetings with local authorities, civic initiatives and a workshop about energy and climate research in cooperation with the University of applied Science Luneburg at the German Climate Computing Center (DKRZ). The concluding part of the study trip will take place in Brussels where the participants talk to members of the European parliament and the European commission.

  • Workshop “Resources, Sovereignty and Geopolitics”

    Ways towards a peaceful and sustainable use of natural resources in Asia
    VENUE
    Hong Kong, China
    Cross-national tensions about the access to natural resources constitute a major security risk in Asia and must be addressed by governments more attentively. To share experiences from different regions and to draft recommendations to political decision makers, KAS RECAP jointly with the renowned British think tank Chatham House organised an international workshop on this topic on 26 and 27 May 2016 in Hong Kong.

     

    The quickly growing population and economy as well as the rising wealth of the society in numerous Asian states cause rapidly increasing stress on food, energy and natural resources. Indeed, most countries cannot meet these demands with their own resources. In the context of their political orientation towards economic growth, these countries raise claims on (potential) resources in internationally disputed territories and marine areas without clearly defined borderlines. Furthermore, some nations significantly influence on the distribution of resources in neighbouring countries through investment and land leasing. Crossborder river systems constitute another source of conflicts, because the up-stream use of water or hydropower has enormous impacts on the hydrological situation in lower river countries, i.e. along the Mekong river.

    Thus, the relations between many countries in Asia are burdened with disagreements about the acess to and use of natural resources. Such tensions can quickly turn into diplomatic or even military conflicts – a significant obstacle for development and an enormous security threat for the region. Therefore, the political agenda of the concerned countries has to reach out towards an intraregional cooperative resource policy. However, the causes, developments and interdependencies of the various conflict spots are very complex.

    On invitation by KAS and the London based think tank, Chatham House, almost twenty academics from eight Asian countries, Europe, Australia and the US came to Hong Kong in order to discuss the dynamics of geopolitical developments in Asia in the light of numerous case studies.

    In his inaugural speech, Karsten Tietz, Acting Consul General of Germany in Hong Kong, drew parallels between the current development in Asia and the situation in Europe before World War I. At the peak of colonialism, countries in the Western world enforced their interests and intensified resource-related conflicts, which led to the catastrophy of two World Wars. On this background, the United Nations and the European Coal and Steel Community, a predecessor of the EU, were founded as plattforms for peaceful cooperation. Therefor, instead of strengthening geopolitical tensions through exclusively focusing on a narrow minded national development, states should establish joint security structures and mechanisms of cooperation.

    The four sessions of the workshop approached the set of problems from different points of view. The first part dealt with different theories on geopolitics and provided an overview of the current developments in Asia. In the following two sessions, the participants focused on the most important geopolitical conflicts in the region. Fishery in disputed territories, such as the South China Sea, was the first topic. The following presentations dealt with concepts of the joint use of resources along international rivers. The Indus - for example - is of great importance for Pakistan, but its headwater streams are on Indian territory. Although the relation between the two countries is stressed not least due to the unsolved question of sovereignty on the Kashmir, the cooperation in water management functions well. On its course through Southeast Asia, the Mekong runs through six countries. China has already build numerous hydro dams in the upper stream. Lao, located at the middle part of the river, is planning several large hydropower stations. This can lead to severe impacts on Cambodia and the delta of the Mekong in Vietnam. The latter is also threatened by inundation through rising sea levels. The participants of the workshop discussed ways of finding solutions coherent with the interest of all countries in the context of existing partnerships such as the Mekong River Commission.

    In Central Asia, the interests of numerous global players – Europe, Russia, China and India – collide. Two presentations of the workshop dealt with the Chinese engagement in Kazakhstan and the competition with Russian activities. In Kazakhstan, the civil society strongly opposite against the settlement and use of fertile land by Chinese investors. Russia and China are competing in the field of economic politics. Although both players have their distinct interests in Central Asia and Russia’s traditionally strong influence on the region is increasingly restricted by China’s activities, the countries officially cooperate in building the access to fossil resources in the region. The case of Myanmar shows that conflicts on the access to resources can also emerge without external influence. Militant groups of ethnic minorities fight against the degradation of their habitat by the mining activities of the central government and stand for the opinion that they are entitled to use local resources. As Chinese investors get increasingly active in Myanmar, this problem also gains an international momentum.

    The fourth session used approaches of political science to elaborate potential concepts for integrative geopolitics in Asia which is based on mutual trust and support.

    In the final discussion, the experts elaborated concrete solutions and recommendations. It turned out that a lack of knowledge and trust has to be overcome. Strengthening intraregional fora like ASEAN is a key for supporting mechanisms for dialogue, exchange and consensus finding.

    The results of the presentations and discussions will be published soon in a new report by Chatham House.

  • The Future of Coal and Chances for Clean Coal

    Conference on Global Energy Security and Climate Change Challenges
    VENUE
    Seoul, South Korea
    A two-day workshop, organized by KAS’s RECAP and King’s College’s EUCERS and supported by the Atlantic Council and the National University of Singapore, on the future of coal and CCS technology was held on 5th and 6th May in Seoul. Experts from 11 countries had a debate on the present and future role of fossil fuels from a global and regional perspective and the potentials of technical development on clean coal.

     

    In the recent Paris Climate Change Conference, participating countries agreed to strengthen their efforts towards de-carbonization. Reducing fossil fuel consumption has been widely accepted as one of the strategies to mitigate climate change, as coal still counts for the majority of global carbon emissions. On the other hand, coal with its relatively low price and abundance remains an important source of world energy supply. Against this backdrop, the present and future uses of coal pose complex challenges in terms of climate change and energy security to decision makers.

    On May 5-6, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s (KAS) Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change (RECAP) in Hong Kong with its partners the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS) at King’s College London, the Atlantic Council and the Energy Studies Institute at the National University of Singapore hosted a two-day workshop in Seoul. It was the second workshop of RECAP´s “Global Energy Security and Climate Change Challenges” series, continuing a discussion on global gas markets, held in Singapore in 2015.

    In the introductory session, Dr. Peter Hefele, Director of RECAP at KAS and Prof. Friedbert Pflüger, Director of EUCERS, highlighted the relevance of the workshop’s theme to global energy markets. Coal still plays a major role in global energy mix, providing fast and cheap energy for growing economies. Yet, the use of coal is a main obstacle for climate change mitigation. There is an urgent need for alternatives beyond the conventional energy sources and technologies. Thus, clean coal and the technology of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) deserve a closer look of policymakers.

    The European Union (EU), originally founded on the basis of joint cooperation on coal and steel production between nation states, attaches still importance to coal development, as noted by Prof. Gerhard Sabathil, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Korea. Securing sustainable energy has been one of the priorities of the EU. Plans for an EU-wide Energy Union are under debate, reflecting different attitudes of single EU member states towards future use of coal: some states, like Poland, opt for further coal use, as their economies are highly dependent on fossil fuels, while others support transition to low-carbon energy, i.e. Germany.

    Dr. Frank Umbach, Research Director of EUCERS at King’s College London presented his research findings in a recent EUCERS Strategy Paper on the Future of Coal. In the mid-term, it is predicted that coal (after oil) remains the most important energy resource globally. The energy consumption of coal is expected to increase particularly in developing countries, since coal enjoys some advantages comparing to other energy sources. Namely, it is cost-competitive and has longer availability than gas and oil resources. Facing the challenge of climate change, Dr. Umbach saw the necessary role of CCS as key and cost-effective technology both for achieving larger emission reductions from fossil-fuel use – not just coal -, and enhancing energy efficiency and expanding renewables.

    The second day of the workshop was divided into three sections. In the first session, Dr. Xunpeng Shi, Deputy Head of Energy Economics Division at the Energy Security Institute of National University of Singapore, Prof. Younkyoo Kim, Director of the Center for Energy Governance & Security, at Hanyang University in Seoul, and Dr. Frank Umbach shared their insights on “Asia-Pacific’s Coal Power Industry – Opportunities and Challenges”. The energy policy in this region is apparently paradox. Thedemand for coal keeps increasing especially in China, India and Southeast Asian countries, although these countries have expressed their willingness in addressing climate change. For example, China has been constantly increasing investments in coal-related project in other countries despite an official announcement of a national-wide stop on building coal plants. This is driven not only by economic benefits, but also by geopolitical strategic consideration. In general, such contradictory acts would undermine global climate change efforts in the long run.

    In the second session – “The Future of Coal, CCS and Clean Coal Technologies after Paris”, speakers agreed that on a global scale installed coal-fuelled generation capacity is expected to further increase, CCS can be part of emissions reductions strategies. Ms. Miyeon Oh, Nonresident Senior Fellow at Atlantic Council Global Energy Center and visiting scholar of Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), analyzed the development of CCS in the US. There, CCS can meet economic and energy security purposes in terms of exporting CCS technology and obtaining sustainable energy supply. However, current challenges are its high operating costs and the absence of policy support. Dr. Hwan Soo Chong from the Korea Carbon Capture & Sequestration R&D Center talked about the current CCS technology development in Korea. The Korean Government has recognized the importance of CCS in mitigating climate change. Government ministries have been assigned roles in developing relevant technology. Several small pilot CCS projects and plans for transportation and capture in Korea have been already developed. Dr. Chong pointed out that CCS has much potential to grow, as nuclear energy’s security and renewables’ high costs are not widely accepted by the general public in Korea.

     

    The third session regarding “Global Trends in Energy and the Role of Coal in the World’s Energy Mix” was conducted by Mr. Carlos Fernández Alvarez, Senior Coal Analyst at International Energy Agency (IEA), Dr. Joachim Lang, Head of Public Affairs Office in Berlin at E.ON SE, Prof. D. Suba Chandran, Professor of International Strategic & Security Studies at National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore and Mr. Zorigt Dashdorj, former Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy of Mongolia.

    The following key trends regarding of global energy markets can be identified:

    • Fossil fuels in particular coal remain the dominant source of energy powering the world economy in the foreseeable 20-30 years
    • Worldwide energy demands will continue to grow mainly driven by China and India
    • Fuel mix is changing as renewables have been increasingly deployed
    • More investments in renewables particularly in developing countries than in developed world have been recorded.

    A more detailed report on the workshop will be available soon.

  • RECAP representatives in Thailand and Cambodia

    Southeast Asia on its path towards a sustainable energy and climate policy
    VENUE
    Bangkok, Thailand and Phnom Penh, Cambodia
    Southeast Asia is playing a crucial role in mitigating the climate change due to its large potential of natural resources and its fast growing economies in the region. As this densely populated region is already suffering from massive changes in local weather conditions, the countries need to adapt their national energy and climate politics and tighten their regional cooperation. To support these transformation processes, RECAP launched a series of presentations in Thailand and Cambodia to raise awareness for the challenges laying ahead.

    The main goal of the presentation had been to raise the young audience's awareness of the topic, deepen their knowledge and provide stimuli to develop own ideas. Dr. Peter Hefele, director of RECAP, gave an introduction into the recent developments in energy and resources politics and regional impacts of climate change. Asia in particular is heavily affected by the growing demand on energy and natural resources. The presentation dealt with the unequal distribution of resources in the region and the risk of transborder conflicts which are triggered and fueled by claims on disputed resources. Dr. Hefele subsequently showed the possible consequences of climate change for Southeast Asia and explained basic principles for sustainable action in energy and climate politics.

    The presentations were held at the Royal University Phnom Penh, the University of Cambodia and at an evening lecture for KAS alumni. All events were attended by a large number of students who followed the presentations attentively. The young audience critically discussed the problems and contributed with own questions and experiences.

    Besides the presentations, RECAP also established new contacts to potential partner institutions in Thailand and Cambodia. Representatives of the regional project informed themselves about the current situation of energy and climate politics in the countries. They had appointments with the Supreme Administrative Court of Thailand, the Ministry for Mines and Energy in Cambodia as well as representatives of NGOs, institutes, enterprises and universities. Most of these institutions have already been partners of the KAS country offices in Thailand and Cambodia for a long time. They demonstrated great interest in a cooperation with RECAP and presented concrete ideas for future cooperation.

    In September 2016, a workshop for climate-related and environmental journalism will be conducted jointly with the KAS country office Cambodia. Journalism students will work together with experienced journalists to conduct field studies. The students gain further experiences in investigative journalism and broaden their knowledge on energy and climate politics.

  • After COP21: Global Problems, Local Solutions

    Student Energy Forum
    VENUE
    Hong Kong, China
    On April 9-10, 2016, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, RECAP Hong Kong sponsored a "Student Energy Forum" on “After COP21: Global Problems, Local Solutions”, co-organized by the Hong Kong-America Center and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

     

    At the Paris COP21 climate conference in December 2015, over 195 nation states reached a historic agreement to make joint efforts in mitigating climate change. Hong Kong has set up its own ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emission as part of China´s overall efforts, as highlighted in the welcoming speeches by Dr. Peter Hefele, Director of RECAP Hong Kong, Prof. King-Lau Chow, Director of Interdisciplinary Programs Office at the HKUST and Mr. Morton Holbrook III, Director of the Hong Kong-America Center. They also made clear that every stakeholder, each citizen can contribute to climate change mitigation actions from the bottom level. The forum aimed at providing concrete solutions for the metropolitan area of Hong Kong in different fields of action, like transport, waste management and energy efficiency.

    The energy forum was divided into two parts. A symposium on Saturday 9 April, featuring renowned experts from local politics, business and civil society shared valuable insights into the energy development strategy of Hong Kong; Late Saturday and Sunday students then engaged in working groups designing new conceptional approaches in energy intensive sectors and finding local solutions.

    About 110 university students and teachers attended the first part of the event. At the start of the keynote session, Mr. Eric Berti, the Consul General of French Consulate General Hong Kong, gave an overview on the significant achievements of Paris COP21agreement. The Paris declaration will serve as a foundation for triggering further national and local actions on climate change. Prof. Michael Palocz-Andresen from Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany, spoke about Germany`s national energy transition to renewable energy (the so called "Energiewende") and its driving forces behind. Ms. Christine Loh, Under Secretary for the Environment at the Hong Kong SAR Government, outlined strategic efforts of the Government in the fields of building energy efficiency, waste treatment, traffic and reduction of fossil energy in the energy supply of the city.

    In the second session, officials from the Hong Kong SAR Government showcased how various departments involving the Electrical & Mechanical Services Department, the Water Supplies Department, the Drainage Services Department and the Environmental Protection Department are implementing measures in reducing carbon emissions and electricity consumption such as building district cooling systems, installing solar panels on government buildings’ roofs, developing hydropower generation systems and generating energy by processing sludge, sewage and wastes.

    After the luncheon meeting, different stakeholder groups from the energy industry and civil society covered four topics: “Renewable Energy Potentials in Hong Kong”, “Land Transportation Sector”, “Green Buildings & Water Technologies” and “From Civic Society: NGO and Innovative Energy Projects & Ideas”. Representatives of Hong Kong’s two power companies, Mr. Joseph Law, the CLP Power Hong Kong Limited and Mr. T. C. Yee, the Hongkong Electric Company, Limited, shed lights on renewable energy development in Hong Kong. They also highlighted constraints facing Hong Kong in developing non-fossil fuel energy sources due to small available area, modest solar and wind capacities and a high population density. Next, Ms. Janice Lao, the MTR Corporation Limited and Mr. Alok Jain, the Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited, talked about energy efficiency schemes of Hong Kong’s subway system and the current development and potentials of electric buses in Hong Kong respectively. Further, Professor Mohamed Ghidaoui and Prof. Kei May Lau, professors at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, presented their research findings in increasing efficiency of city water systems and the current use of LEDs as part of the solutions for climate change.

    In the concluding session, Ms. Christina Tang, Founder of Blue Sky Energy, demonstrated how the her social initiative uses energy related data to positively influence people’s behavior in environmental protection; Mr. John Sayer, Carbon Care Asia Limited, shared his views on challenges facing Hong Kong to cope with climate change and highlighted the global need of a shift to a zero-carbon economy.

    The second part of the forum consisted of presentations and discussion of four thematic working groups. They acted as different stakeholders and critically evaluated the current local energy situation. Considering limitations of the local transportation sector, participants proposed concrete measures to improve the energy efficiency of Mass Transit Railway MTR, one of the largest energy consumers in Hong Kong; further to make the political, social and economic environment more favorable for electric bus development. Given the limited amount of potential renewable energy capacities in Hong Kong, students saw the need to partner with mainland China such as purchasing electricity from the Pearl River Delta, investing in renewable energy sources abroad, and establishing a pilot region for REs. In response to the question of “how to use data to empower people”, installing smart meters in households was considered the best way to change consumers’ behavior.

    The four teams will summarize their ideas into a written report which were submitted to the Hong Kong SAR Government’s Environment Bureau as policy proposals.

  • EU-Asian Energy Politics in the 21st Century

    International workshop
    VENUE
    Hong Kong, China
    The fifth workshop of the series "EU-Asia Relations in Global Politics", jointly organised by RECAP and the European-Asian research network EUACES, discussed current developments in the energy politics cooperation between Asia and Europe. Numerous contributions of young researchers of different disciplines provided a comprehensive picture of the future challenges for politics and economy.

    New paradigms in climate politics, resources scarcity, innovative technologies and a tense security situation in the Middle East are only some of the huge challenges the global energy system are currently facing. These issues cannot be solved by single countries. Particularly Europe and Asia – which geographically bound together – can and shall cooperate closely in energy politics: to to tap the full potential of innovative developments and to build an interconnected infrastructure for the future energy generation and supply. There is in fact a broad consensus in all countries that the upcoming far-reaching reforms in energy politics can only be tackled jointly. Indeed, it is less clear in what way and to what extent such cooperation should be conducted.

    These urgent questions were in the focus of 2016 KAS-UACES workshop. Young scientists from Asia, Europe and the US had the opportunity to present their research and findings to an international audience. A broad variety of aspects in energy politics between Asia and Europe, ranging from the generation of electricity to the consumption, from financial and diplomatic questions to legal issues of the use of natural resources. The aim was not only to have a close look at the single problems, but also to find integral solutions for better cooperation.

    In her welcoming remarks, Evelyn Gaiser, head of energy and climate in the Team Asia and the Pacific of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, explained the role of the Foundation in the context of the German Energiewende (energy transition). Further aspects of Eurasian energy cooperation had been given by the German Consul general in Hong Kong and Macau, Nikolaus Graf Lambsdorff, and by representatives of universities of Hong Kong. Thereafter, experts provided an introduction to the four thematic areas of the workshop. At the second day, these topics were discussed in depth by young scientists who presented their research findings to a peer group.

    Current geopolitical implications of changing energy systems were the first topic of the day. The unequal distribution of (fossil)resources and the contribution of renewable energies to future energy demands are among those drivers which will shape the energy landscape in Asia and Europe. Depending on different national strategies and the broader geopolitical environment, these relations result in both mutually beneficial cooperation or in resources conflicts. The role of Central Asia at the intersection between Europe and Asia and Russia and China in particular, is a prominent example.

    The following sessions turned towards the macro and microeconomic dynamics of energy demand and supply. Economic potentials and strategies have a crucial influence on how each country can and wants to extend its energy supply. In the afternoon, the impact of climate change on the energy security was analyzed. On one hand, the impacts of global warming can obstruct the access to natural resources and endanger energy transport routes. On the other hand, energy demand might raise due to their adaptation efforts to climate change. Intraregional cooperation can contribute to overcome supply shortages and create more energy efficiency.

    Financing issues and technical innovations were in the focus of the concluding sessions. China’s massive investments in its Central Asian neighbour countries and the effects of such commitment were discussed intensively. Several presentations highlighted the technological progress, which significantly influences all fields of energy politics. More efficient use of renewable energy sources, but also for clean fossil resources are quickly developing. Highly efficient solar panels, innovative approaches for energy saving and storage and energy efficient construction technologies – to name only a few fields of innovation.

    After the sessions, two certificates for the best papers were handed over to Fang Meng, PhD candidate of Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and to Dr. Ali Cheshmehzangi, Assistant Professor for Architecture at the University of Nottingham.

    The results of the workshop’s presentations and discussions will be published in two volumes at the renowned Springer publisher.

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Asia Energy Security & Climate Change

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