The international workshop "Challenges facing the Energy Transition" in Hong Kong on 21-23 February 2016 gathered participants from different countries including Australia, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Sweden, United States, Hong Kong and Singapore. Experts from academic and industry gave insights into existing electricity systems, rapidly changing economics of energy markets and to-be-reformed public policy frameworks.
In his introduction, Dr. Peter Hefele, Director of RECAP, presented a comparative overview on European and Asian energy and climate change policy. Presentations by the participants covered various aspects including electricity market structures, patterns and impacts of renewable energy growth and policy and regulatory framework in energy power sectors. Much attention was also given on constraints that the current system is facing with a massive increase in renewable energy supply.
A final roundtable discussion addressed several core issues of the transition process such as public policy reframing, new business models and intraregional cooperation. Several participants called for a better and coordinated policy-making mechanism. Despite an volatile business environment and weaknesses in the implementation, the experts agreed in the decisive role governments play in providing stable and predictable legal framework and in setting standards for fair market access.
A brief policy recommendation will be published soon at www.kas.de/recap. Griffith University will prepare a publication with the contributions of the workshop later this year.
Guests and panel participants included Mr. Baigarin, vice-president of the Nazarbayev University, Dr. Solovjeva, member of the Majilis parliament of the 4-5th convocation, the ambassador and head of the European Union Delegation in Kazakhstan, HE Mr. Hristea, the authors of the study Dr. Umbach and Dr. Raszewski, the journalist and Central-Asia expert, Dr. Wetzel and Ms. Aitzhanova, CEO of the National Analytical Center.
In the course of the event, two panel discussions chaired by Mr. Helm and Dr. Wetzel were held on the topics “Geostrategic Challenges of Energy Security” and “The Contribution of Renewable Energy to Energy Security” that gave the roughly 80 attendees, many of them energy experts, diplomatic corps and students, the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the geopolitical and geo-economic dimensions of energy resources in the context of EU-Kazakh relations.
The participants of the event also took the chance to discuss the importance of renewable energies in Kazakhstan’s economic transformation process with experts and guests of honor between the panel discussions.
After the event, both Dr. Hefele and Mr. Helm showed themselves satisfied with the outcomes of the conference and seek to build upon them for further research. In their opinion, issues related to energy security and renewable energies should become more prominent in German –Kazakh partnership and cooperation.
Energy production and supply play a crucial role in shaping political relations and security issues in Northeast Asia. The countries in the region have developed tight intertwined trading relations including fossil resources. The North Korean trade with China and Russia creates challenges and poses unresolved questions for a possible future unification of Korea. Intending to shape a stable cooperation in energy and resource issues, Northeast Asia can draw on lessions from other regions. On invitation of KAS and Yonsei University, politicians, scientists and economists from Asia and Europe gathered to discuss different aspects of resource and energy politics of Europe and Germany and its implications for Northeast Asia.
The transition of energy systems will be an important issues when it comes to the unification of Korea. Germany, having made the experience of reunification in 1990, can provide a good example. In the conference, German experts explained how the energy policy developed in different ways in the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). The GDR having been under socialist rule, the comparison of East and West Germany shows some commonalities with the current situation of North and South Korea. The participants were also were eager to learn about the way how Western Europe reacted to the sudden start of the reunification process in Germany and how the incorporation of the East German economic and energy system in the Federal Republic was mastered. In the following discussion, the experts drew implications from the German experiences for a possible unification of Korea.
In the following session, Koreas energy policy was regarded in a broader context of its neighbour countries. Scientists and economists presented various concepts for coordinating and fostering the gas trade between Russia, China and the Korean peninsula. The Russian Federation had only started several years ago to export and sell gas to China in a remarkable amount, but the trade volume has the prospect to grow rapidly in the coming years. However, China is also reaching towards Central Asian countries within its One Belt One Road initative. These dynamic developments raise the question how to structure the trilateral trade relations between China, Russia and South Korea. Furthermore, Russia and China are the only trade partners and suppliers for North Korea. These formalised relations and contracts are a legal issue to be solved when preparing the unification of Korea.
The experts, scientists and politicians did not only exchange ideas, experiences and knowledge about the latest trends in the Korean and Northeast Asian energy market. The conference also served as platform to identify challenges and prospects, formulate goals and elaborate concepts. The Asian and European participants recognised the importance of a coordinated intraregional cooperation and affirmed their intention to collaborate closer for shaping the resource and energy cooperation on the way to a sustainable economic growth in Northeast Asia.
Shortly before the start of the World Climate Conference in Paris, legal issues with respect to food and water security from national, regional and international perspectives were highlighted.
In her introductory talk, Dr. Koh Kheng Lian, Professor Emerita, honorary director and co-founder of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Environmental Law (APCEL) at the National University of Singapore, presented the legal framework for food and water security in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). She emphasised that it is necessary to prepare as much as possible for the uncertainty of climate change developments, especially in the areas of food and water, by adopting a regional approach as well.
The strengthening of democratic institutions, as supported by KAS, constituted an essential element in this regard. The increasing consciousness of the significance of the subject, both as an issue of security policy – with an emphasis on bio-terrorism – and as a trigger for migration, would have to be converted into the political will to act and then further translated into an improvement in the capacity to react on all levels.
The alumni contributions on the situation in their home countries dealt with, among other issues: the effectiveness of existing regulations on food safety, increasing consumer awareness of food quality, the importance of water management for sustained development of a country and the environmental consequences of major infrastructure projects, such as the construction of dams. To cite an example from Vietnam, the reports achieved political immediacy when, just one day before the adoption of a new criminal code in Vietnam, the head of the Working Group on Reform in the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice presented the new provisions for environmental criminal law contained in the proposed code.
In the course of discussions, it became clear that there were indeed an increasing number of laws. However, their implementation often failed, due to the lack of political will and the pursuit of profit-making at any price, which is often still seen as a priority. The absence, or inadequacy of state agencies to implement the regulations constitute an obstacle to success, and this can also be the result of responsibility shared among multiple institutions, without any clear demarcation of jurisdiction. One participant summed it up as follows: “We have laws, but we don’t have the rule of law.”
The legal considerations were further expounded upon on the third day, by placing them in the context of a discussion on the broader topic of "Energy and Resource Security.” For this purpose, the KAS Regional Project on “Energy Security and Climate Change Asia-Pacific” (RECAP), which was newly established in Hong Kong in early 2015, organized a lecture and discussion forum. Dr. Peter Hefele, the Director of RECAP, presented a brief introductory outline of the challenges facing the region.
In her lecture, Dr. Maria Julia Trombetta, an expert in climate policy at the University of Nottingham in Ningbo/PR China, illustrated the complex dynamics of a secure energy supply. In this regard, we mostly think of supply security, but for a “vital” and sustainable energy system, demand security is also of major importance, as the conversion to renewable energy sources shows, for example. Moreover, in recent decades what is referred to as "securitization", or the consideration of energy supply with regard to security policy aspects beyond supply and demand, has played an ever-stronger role. This has also determined market and power relationships in the energy and raw material markets to a considerable extent.
Dr. Hefele supplemented this analysis by discussing certain aspects which may arise for companies with regard to future resource security. Thus, there remains a considerable forecast risk with regard to availability and market structures. By cooperating with political organisations, the companies should take further steps to commit themselves to global energy and resource governance.
Three former students used the examples of China, Vietnam and Korea to envisage the current and future prospects for energy and raw material resources in individual Asian countries. China would like to decrease its dependence upon coal and reduce the vulnerability of its maritime transportation routes by means of new overland gas supply. Vietnam expects to triple its energy needs by 2020 and is making a rapid expansion of generation capacity its priority. As for Korea, it imports 97 per cent of its energy. This northeast Asian industrial nation would like to increase the share of power that it produces for itself, and the contribution of nuclear energy is currently under vigorous debate.
In the closing discussions, the participants contrasted the differing approaches and points of view espoused by their countries and commented on planned measures. From a legal standpoint, they pointed out that the right of each individual to an appropriate energy supply, development and protection of livelihoods must be sustainably balanced against each other. The alumni reached the conclusion that the complex subject of resource and energy security challenges the legal system of a country on many levels.
Throughout 2015 KAS RECAP supported workshops and research studies organized by SLoCaT to promote new concepts on sustainable mobility in Asia and make transport a major issue in the upcoming UNFCCC climate negation. The EST forum, inaugurated by the Nepali prime minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, provided a unique opportunity to present recent findings on climate change related issues in the transport sector and discuss key recommendations for COP21 with environmental minister and highranking officals from several Asian countries.
After welcoming remarks by Dr. Peter Hefele, Director RECAP, Karl Peet of SLoCaT and Tali Trigg of giz Bangkok reviewed the contribution of the transport sector to GHG emissions and concrete proposals made by Asian countries in the framework of their INDCs for COP21 to lower the impact of mobility on climate change. Counting for around a quarter of global emissions urgent action in the field of mobility is needed to increase energy efficiency and promoting new concepts, i.e. in urban transportation.
During the discussion it became clear that there is no silver bulletfor sustainable mobility. Given the diverse demands and development levels a broad variety of mobility options have to be provided. Besides pure technical solutions changes in behaviour and in urban and rural planning have to be initiated.
In the second part of the workshop six key messages on sustainable mobility had been presented by Cornie Huizenga, Secretary General of SLoCaT:
The particpants almost unanimously agreed on the proposals, which will be presented to the international climate community and political decision makers in Paris. KAS RECAP will particpate in several transport related side events at COP 21, organized by its partner SLoCaT between 3rd and 9th December.
For more detailed information on this conference and COP21 side events see SLoCaT’s webpage. In May 2016, UNCRD published an evaluation review on the implementation of the "Bangkok 2020 Declaration" of the EST Forum.
Within individual South Asian states, the importance of definitive actions against the causes and effects of climate change has been definitely recognised by the political leaders and civil institutions. Indeed, there is no sufficiently intensive cross-border cooperation so far. Existing institutions such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) have so far proved to be not very efficient.
The Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change in Asia and Pacific (RECAP) jointly with the long-time partner Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS) has organised a planning conference on 17 November 2015 in Kathmandu where representatives of think tanks and NGOs from five South Asian countries participated. The aim was to exchange experiences about the impacts of climate change in the respective countries, to align overarching objectives and explore possible starting points of joint efforts, for example in the field of disaster management. The underlying political, social and economic conditions for a transition of the energy and resource politics to a socially and ecologically sustainable development were the pivot point of the discussion.
The representatives did not hesitate to mention critical developments in their own countries. The threats caused by the rapid snow melt in the Himalayas and the rising sea level in the Indian Ocean as well as the effects of a still predominantly fossil energy production (mainly coal) were discussed intensively. The impacts of the Indian fuel supply blockade towards Nepal during the conference demonstrated impressively the conflict potential of the "energy security" topic.
Given the severe challenges, all participants agreed that the countries of South Asia have to cooperate more tightly among themselves and with other regions. There was consensus that NGOs and think tanks can provide important stimuli for such a cooperation due to their interconnectedness with the political systems. In 2016, RECAP will support the elaboration of a concept and a roadmap for concrete institutional improvements for the cooperation in the field of energy and climate politics.
Policy makers and societies increasingly understand the necessity of substantial steps towards an ambitious new climate regime. The Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change in Asia Pacific of KAS (RECAP) together with the Hong Kong America Center organises a simulation game to give more than 50 students from different universities of Hong Kong and Macao an opportunity to understand international climate negotiations better and to develop their own ideas. The participants students try to agree an different views and objectives and to finally agree on an joint action plan binding for all countries - similar to the aim of COP21 in Paris in 2015. The participants do not only gain professional insights in the current global climate politics and diplomacy, but acquire also practical argumentation and negotiation skills.
The workshop is organised in three parts: a professional preparation, the actual two-days simulation of negotiations and a review which compares the results to those of the real UN climate conference. Nine students groups had been formed, which represent the economically and politically most important countries of different world regions. On 24th October 2015, the workshop started with an introduction by high-ranking diplomats of almost all countries represented in the workshop. They provided the participants with background information about the positioning and expectations of their respective governments in preparation of the COP21 conference in Paris. These insights were complemented by presentations of climate experts from academia and consulting who presented necessary measures to mitigate (and adaptate to) climate change.
Frank Joshua, a former high-ranking UN staff member in trade and climate negotiations, reported his first-hand experience on climate diplomacy since the Kyoto protocol in 1997. The deputy consul general of the COP21 host country France, Lilas Bernheim, explained on the preparation towards the climate summit December in Paris, including insights in the climate politics of the EU and and France.
In his presentation the German consul general Nikolaus Graf Lambsdorff illustrated the ambitious and comprehensive goals of Germany´s "Energiewende" ("Energy transition"). His Indian colleague, Prashant Agrawal, emphasised that the society and culture of India had always attached great importance to the protection of environment. The government of the world's third largest CO2 emmittant is investing ambitiously in climate friendly infrastructure - for example the first international airport which is excusively run by solar energy. The consul generals and experts from China, Bangladesh, Japan, the Philippines and the United States also explained their countries` position.
After the presentations, the students began first discussion among themselves on how to proceed during the upcoming two-days simulation game. A short position paper was presented to the plenum as a draft conclusion of the day. It already became apparent that the countries will set very different focal points of interest and expectations are wide: The "delegates" of the EU pointed to their hitherto achievements and their ambitious climate political goals and called upon other developed nations for stronger efforts. The US stressed the responsibility of less developed countries. Those again pointed to the hazard caused by the impacts of the climate change. Regarding their low economic development level, they asked for massive technical and financial support from the industrial nations. The "delegates" of the Philippines planned to use their financial means primarily for adaption to the inevitably rising sea level and saw measures to mitigate climate change as second priority. China reminded the other countries of its recent promise to lower emission rates. Russia on the other hand pointed to the role of its vast forests which play an important role in CO2 sinking.
Student Policy Simulation on November 14-15, 2015
Much attention has been drawn on the negotiations between national states, whether they are able to build consensus and create an agreement on mitigation and adaptation of climate change. The past history has shown negotiations were not necessarily smooth and their effectiveness is subject to different factors. The two-day simulation activity of students, organized by the Hong Kong American Center and sponsored by the Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change Asia-Pacific, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, has obviously reflected this reality.
Local and international students with various study backgrounds engaged in an intensive discussion similar to UNFCCC negotiations via playing the roles of countries including Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, the USA, the EU, Philippines, India and Russia. Taking account of the countries’ actual circumstances, the negotiation aims to formulate a treaty of outlining stances of countries in handling climate change. Participants started each discussion on mitigation, adaptation and finance after presenting their countries’ positions. No one denied the significance and necessity to take timely action in response to the changing climate. However, views were apparently divided among the country representatives, when it comes to the concrete issues of the target of temperature goal, the differentiated responsibility of developed and developing countries and the amount of financing assistance for underdeveloped countries. Despite this, at the end of the conference, a final resolution has been made and passed by all participating delegates after several rounds of voting and amendments on terms.
In general, the simulation has enabled students to gain insights into and experience the negotiating and decision-making process of the international regime of climate change. In addition, it enhances their practical skills of public speaking and debating and strengthens their teamwork and leadership abilities. They do hope their voices will be heard by decision makers, with the belief that as stakeholders of the society, they have the responsibility to contribute to climate change issues by influencing the climate negotiations via a bottom-up approach.
In 2014, Germany has produced around 26 percent of its primary energy demand by renewables (RE), aiming at 80 percent in 2050. Japan will increase its share of renewables to 27 percent in 2025.
Photovoltaic (PV) and wind power are already the major sources of RE. But in comparison to hydro power or biomass, they are very volatile; and supply and demand over the day and between seasons do unfortunately not match very well. Advanced and scalable energy storage systems are the missing link to provide a stable energy supply, affordable prices and increased resilience and independence of energy systems.
Much progress in the field of storage systems has been made in recent years, mainly in electric storage. But power to gas and combustion cell are promising options, too.
In a comparative approach, renowned speakers from Japan, Germany and the United States showed different technological solutions, economic incentive schemes and legal framework concepts. The countries face similar challenges in creating efficient regulatory frameworks and financial incentives, namely fed-in-tariffs. But despite these obstacles, it became clear that we might expect dramatic breakthroughs in the next five years both in efficient ESS technologies and scale of instalments. There was consent that ESS is the bottleneck of successful energy transformation and reduction of greenhouses emissions.
An exhibition by Japanese and German companies created a platform for exploring business options and research cooperation between these leading nations.
In a parallel event by VDE Institute, the complex issues of finding economically viable and efficient ways of financing the massive investments into RE and ESS were discussed. The speakers and discussants unanimously agreed that further improvements in the legal and administrative procedures have to be made to provide a stable environment for private investment, both from the local as well as from the international financial system. Varying subsidy schemes, huge time gaps between permission and final construction of projects and a lack of product quality make institutional investors still reluctant to invest more into RE markets including ESS.
A more detailed report on ESSJ Japan 2015 can be found on: https://essj.messe-dus.co.jp/en/energy-storage-summit-japan/.
The center of gravity of the global natural gas markets is shifting eastwards. The Asia-Pacific region has already surpassed Europe in gas-importing. The "revolution" in shale gas in the United States has further added to a massive reshaping of the global energy landscape.
What does this mean for decision makers in energy politics and business? Do we have to expect structural changes in energy demand and supply, not least due to technological breakthroughs? What will be Asia's and Europe's role in a future global energy system?
In its first international conference in Singapore KAS RECAP cooperated with the European Center for Energy and Ressource Studies (EUCERS) London, the Energy Studies Institute at National University Singapore (ESI) and the American Council Washington - all long term and renowned partners of KAS in Europe, Asia and the United States. Participants from gas industry, government and academia provided a high-ranking platform for the exchange of ideas on the political and economic framework of the future gas malarkey so.
The discussion clearly showed that gas markets face great incertainties in mid- and long-term perspectives. Europe will probably reduce its demand on natural gas due to increased efforts in energy efficiency, decarbonisation and climate protection. Despite Europe`s efforts to diversify its energy sources, Russia will remain the main supplier for Europe. As storage capacities remain the bottleneck for increasing the amount of renewable energy, `power to gas` might become a viable option.
Most participants agreed that gas will become an important energy source for Asian countries. The region will see the emergence of new hubs and Asian markets will play an important role in a new pricing mechanism which will be decoupled from oil. In respect to security, pros and cons of an increased contribution of gas to the energy mix had been discussed. Despite the flexibility of sea-bound gas transportation systems, security threats remain and land-based pipelines will play in important role in the future, too.
Given the advantages of established LNG producers, i.e. Quatar, and the comparatively low market prices on LNG, new potential producers, i.e. Australia or Iran, will not play an important role in mid-term perspective. Thus, investors will remain reluctant to increase capacities. From the perspective of climate change mitigation the contribution of gas should not be overestimated as coal will remain the major source of primary energy in Asia for the next decades.
For a more detailed reporting see the attached document.
EUCERS and KAS will draft more detailed policy recommendations in the following weeks. All partners agreed to continue the analysis also on other energy markets. The next joint conference will probably deal with coal and nuclear power.
The rapidly growing metropolitan areas in Asia play an important role for establishing sustainable energy and economy systems in the region. European cities are pioneering sustainable urban planning, with experiences over the past decades. Such experiences can be a great benefit for Asian cities, too. The transfer of knowledge is the aim of Urban Innovations (UI), a multi-years event series organised by the European Union Academic Programme Hong Kong.
2015, the experiences of the Hanseatic City of Hamburg - a city with a broad variety of dynamic and sustainable development projects - will be discussed in a series of events . The KAS Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change Asia-Pacific supports the exhibition "Green, inclusive, growing city by the water: Perspectives on Urban Development in Hamburg". The opening ceremony had been attended by numerous representatives of Hong Kong government offices for environment and urban planning as well as of several European consulates. A guided tour provided the guests with insights in successful projects of sustainable urban development in Hamburg. Subsequently the participants draw implications for Asian cities. Vincent Piket, Head of Office of the European Union to Hong Kong, emphasised in his speech that knowledge transfer is always a process of mutual learning. For Karsten Tietz, Deputy Consul General of Germany, the exhibition is also a personal concern. He originated from Hamburg and told about his own experiences in his home city. The current thriving development of Hamburg has not been a self-evident matter from the very beginning. It was rather initiated by the cooperation of both politics and civil society. Striving for climate friendly and energy efficient urban development played a crucial role in this process.
Representatives of Hong Kong's government emphasised their intention to consider European experiences for the development of their own city. K. K. Ling, Director Of Planning at the Planning Department, identified several topics of the exhibition that bear the potential for concrete implementation in Hong Kong. Fostering electric mobility, an improved flood prevention system and energy efficient architecture for the new urban district Kowloon West are among the projects to be implemented in the next years. Moreover, Hong Kong serves as multiplier of sustainable concepts for other Asian metropolises. A tight cooperation between Hong Kong, Singapore and various cities in mainland China, Taiwan and other East Asian countries has been established for many years. It fosters the exchange of ideas and experiences in innovative urban planning.
The exhibition can be visited free of charge daily till 15 December 2015 at City Gallery in Central. Please find more information on the event series on the website of Urban Innovations.
Legal and environmental experts of various countries gathered to present and discuss legal frameworks and ideas on the issues of climate change and management during disasters of different jurisdictions in Asia. The event was inaugurated by Dr. Wei Kuo-Yen, Minister of Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C. Taiwan. It was jointly organized by Eco-Blue in association with the Institute of Law for Science and Technology, National Tsing Hua University and KAS Rule of Law Programme.
2015 is a critical year for the two major global processes on sustainable development and climate change: for sustainable development, the Post -2015 Development Framework and a final list of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to be adopted by World leaders in September 2015. In the context of climate change, a global agreement is likely to be reached at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, France in December 2015.
These international processes will set out quantified targets to guide the directions for sustainable development and climate change action in the next 15 years. In short, the international community has to come to a consensus on what and how much needs to be done to achieve sustainable development goals and climate change mitigation and adaptation priorities. The role of the transport sector in achieving sustainable development and climate change action is indispensable. Considering the urgency and scope of change required by these commitments, it is critical to quickly scale up current levels of funding for sustainable low carbon transport infrastructure and services. Much of the additional funding will be required to develop transport infrastructure and services that currently do not exist, particularly in the global South.
Participants agreed that private sector financing for sustainable transport in the Asia Pacific region is being held by the “lack of an enabling environment with a transparent, predictable and enforceable regulatory framework providing adequate flexibility in structuring Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects (PPPP)”. Participants furthermore agreed that there is a need for greater involvement of institutional investors in the funding of sustainable transport in Asia if the region is to be successful in meeting investment targets for sustainable transport set by the 2015 global processes on Sustainable Development and Climate Change. Round Table discussions resulted in a series of Key Takeaways in three areas:
More information on Private Sector Financing of Sustainable Transport can be found at: http://www.slocat.net.
This conference on 23 and 24 April was part of the foundation’s preparatory actions to support the climate summit in Paris. Main points of discussion were the status of the preparations for the conference in Paris and still existing hurdles to be overcome. A second focus was put on the time after Paris. The participants agreed that climate change diplomacy will not end with COP21 in France, but enter into a new phase. The agreement needs to be implemented, connections have to be made with other cross-issue areas and the financial means have to be used efficiently and effectively. The experts from government institutions and think tanks from 16 countries also debated the current status of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) of various countries as well as the financing measures provided through the Green Climate Fund. A crucial question was the linkages between climate change and other topics such as security, fragile states and urbanization. In addition, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung formally introduced its new regional project on energy security and climate change in Asia-Pacific which is based in Hong Kong.