2016 Agenda


Sustainable Futures: Energy and Environmental Security in Times of Transition



Wednesday, June 22


Thursday, June 23

8:30-10:30 SESSION ONE
Near-Term Plenty, Long-Term Risk: Market Outlooks in an Era of Abundance
The current energy environment provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Asia-Pacific to achieve long-term energy and environmental security goals. Increased oil and gas production in North America, sustained production in OPEC, the reintroduction of Iran into global markets, the revitalization of nuclear energy, and ongoing growth in the wind and solar sectors have all changed energy market discussions across the spectrum of supply sources. Relaxed markets typically benefit consumers, as well as governments aiming to enact systemic reforms, but industry leaders and policymakers must take action to ensure long-term energy and environmental security, regardless of whether the current era of abundance endures. This session will discuss the effects of recent market dynamics on investments in energy production. What should be the response of industry leaders and policymakers to current and future market volatility? How can environmental planning be better integrated with these conversations?
10:30–11:00 COFFEE & TEA BREAK
11:00–12:30 SESSION TWO
South and Southeast Asia: Emerging Giants in Global Energy Markets
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has projected that from 2015 to 2040, Southeast Asia’s energy demand will increase by an amount roughly equal to the current installed capacity of Japan and South Korea combined, while India will experience the world’s fastest energy consumption growth. Rising demand in these regions will partly result from government efforts to expand access to the over 400 million people that remain in energy poverty. For many, this means continued reliance on coal, often perceived as the most abundant, affordable, and available energy source. Following a trend towards cleaner energy supply sources, many countries in South and Southeast Asia have made commitments to expand the shares of nuclear, gas, wind, solar, and other cleaner energy sources in their mixes and pursue widespread implementation of clean-coal technologies. How will these countries achieve their energy access goals while also reducing emissions?
12:30–14:30 LUNCH
14:30–16:00 SESSION THREE
Implications of Low Oil Prices on Post Paris Climate Ambitions
The ambitious goals expressed at COP21 are strong steps toward mitigating worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Considering the Asia-Pacific’s massive share of current and projected emissions, countries across the region must lead efforts to achieve these goals. This will require that governments take strong action and enact innovative solutions to revolutionize energy systems both domestically and regionally. The need to prevent the negative effects of climate change has never been more apparent, particularly in the Asia-Pacific with numerous countries severely threatened by rising sea levels and ever more frequent natural disasters. Though respective policy commitments to combat emissions differ, countries broadly emphasize the role of cleaner energy sources and encourage the adoption of investment and innovation frameworks to support transformational change. However, sustained low oil prices could impact the implementation of such measures. What challenges remain for bringing renewable energy sources to scale across the Asia-Pacific? What role can market based instruments such as carbon pricing play in improving the viability of cleaner energy options?
16:00–16:30 COFFEE & TEA BREAK
These sessions are held concurrently, providing delegates with the opportunity to gather in smaller groups for more intimate discussions.

Roundtable One

Tackling Water Insecurity for Sustainable Development
Water is essential to all facets of life, and rising levels of pollution, preexisting drought conditions, inadequate waste management, and the adverse effects of climate change are undermining water security across the Asia-Pacific. Food, water, and energy are inextricably linked, with water being an essential resource to develop, process, produce, and deliver energy, as well as grow food. At the same time, energy is needed to extract, treat, convert, and distribute water, and to maintain food security. Water intensive energy production and continuously growing energy demand in much of the Asia- Pacific will put additional pressure on already strained water resources. This roundtable will address the complex relationship between food, water, and energy security. How can governments encourage holistic cross-border planning and policy-making to transform this relationship into a symbiotic one?

Roundtable Two

The Road to Urbanization: Smart Cities, Efficient Transportation, and Cleaner Air
According to the United Nations, Asia will be home to 24 cities with populations exceeding 10 million people by 2030, more than any other region in the world. Satisfying these cities’ massive and concentrated energy demand will be an immense challenge. At the same time, governments must confront environmental and public health crises that have resulted from urbanization, including dire air pollution. Additionally, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), vehicle numbers in Asia double every 5–7 years, which will have a clear impact on energy consumption, emission rates, and public health, as 80% of urban pollution results from transportation emissions. Thus, improving air quality in cities across Asia has become a top priority, as governments work to mitigate the effects of air pollution with varying results. What policies can governments implement to address the negative environmental effects of urbanization, including air pollution? What challenges and opportunities are presented by rapid urbanization in the Asia-Pacific? What effects will these trends have on overall energy and environmental security in the region?

18:00–19:00 RECEPTION

Friday. June 24

8:30–10:00 SESSION FOUR
The Future of Energy Demand
The Asia-Pacific leads the world in economic growth, and rising standards of living will continue to accelerate energy demand growth in the region. However, against the backdrop of the recent global economic downturn, shifts in growth rates as well as efforts to reshape energy systems and implement policies to advance more efficient fuels and technologies are affecting the link between economic growth and rising energy demand. Furthermore, the IEA recently reported that 2015 marked the second year in a row in which global GHG emissions stayed flat, though it remains unclear whether this trend can be attributed to policy shifts or broader macroeconomic trends. This session will examine the nexus between economic, energy, and emissions outlooks. How should we understand the evolving relationship between economic growth and energy consumption going forward? Can we expect recent trends showing a decoupling of GHG emissions and economic growth to continue? How can policymakers assess the impact of existing and future policies to advance energy and environmental security goals?
10:30–10:30 COFFEE & TEA BREAK
10:30–12:00 SESSION FIVE
Realities and Aspirations for Balancing Coal, Gas, and Nuclear Energy Options
Growing concerns surrounding the adverse effects of climate change have resulted in renewed commitments to easing reliance on emissions-heavy energy sources. Governments across the Asia-Pacific are working to craft national energy plans that balance energy and environmental security amid market shifts. To lessen reliance on coal-fired power generation, many countries are looking to increase the shares of gas- and nuclear-based power generation in their energy mixes. Lower oil prices have eased concerns over the ‘Asian premium,’ the phenomenon of Asian consumers paying a higher price in recent years compared to those in Europe and North America. However, systemic changes will be needed to keep gas prices low should oil prices rise. National energy plans are also increasingly relying on power generation from nuclear energy, with new construction and restarts of nuclear power plants occurring across the region. How will market volatility, social license issues, and regional market developments affect the success of these policy and market goals?
12:00–13:30 LUNCH
13:30–15:00 SESSION SIX
Closing the Investment Gap: Financing Energy and Environmental Targets
According to ADB, the Asia-Pacific will require $11.7 trillion of investment in the energy sector from 2010 to 2035 to develop new systems and address aging infrastructure. In addition, the Paris Climate Agreement highlighted that developing countries will need $100 billion per year in assistance to reach their climate targets. Potential sources of energy financing include institutions such as ADB, the World Bank, and the newly formed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, but these organizations alone cannot fill the investment gap. Successful projects must harness funding at local, national, and international levels. This panel will address how to best facilitate such funding. How can the private sector, domestic and local banks, neighboring countries, and international institutions cooperate to collectively fill investment gaps to pursue energy and environmental security goals?
15:00–15:30 CONCLUSION