Concurrent Session: | 4 OCTOBER
A Just Transition towards Clean Energy in Asia
DATE AND TIME
4 October 10:45 – 12:15 hrs (ICT)
Conference Room 4, UN Conference Centre Bangkok, Thailand
The impacts of climate change are posing real risks to people, planet and profits. Recognizing this, businesses and financial institutions are exploring ways to hasten the transition from fossil fuels to more sustainable, renewable energy sources. In so doing, they will help realize the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
Analysis by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific highlights that most progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the region has been made toward Sustainable Development Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy. However, while access to electricity is expanding and international financial support to developing countries is increasing, the proportion of renewable energy in the Asia-Pacific region's total energy consumption is decreasing. This trend is especially worrisome given that Asia is projected to use half the world’s electricity by 2025.
When decarbonizing operations, corporate leaders might find that adopting a sustainable energy mix can improve their financial performance. However, the clean energy transition also presents challenges, especially in ensuring a fair and equitable "just transition" for all stakeholders.
Although a definitive definition of a "just transition” does not yet exist, it generally involves incorporating a human rights-based approach into economic transitions. For example, the ILO defines the concept as “greening the economy in a way that is fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind”. For example, workers may face job losses and skill mismatches when fossil fuel companies shift to renewable energy production. Meanwhile, marginalized communities may struggle to access affordable energy until economies of scale in clean energy production are achieved. In addition, the energy transition could cause conflict of interest over natural resources which may disproportionately affect local communities and Indigenous People who often lack information, participation, and access to remedy in environmental matters.
A just transition framework may help reduce and potentially reverse societal inequalities, marginalization, and vulnerability during transitions. Just transitions represent a transformative opportunity to bring about systemic change that benefits businesses, workers and communities alike. Against this context, the session will probe to what extent the clean energy transition is taking shape in Asia, and how the business sector can ensure a just energy transition.
The session will aim to:
Assess progress and discuss opportunities, challenges and good practices in realizing a clean energy transition in Asia
Explore how companies and others can ensure a just and clean energy transition in Asia, i.e., a transition that leaves no one behind and is rooted in human rights, gender equality and justice
The session format will be a panel discussion with opportunities for participants to engage.
Participants understand how the clean energy transition is taking shape in Asia and how companies can contribute to just energy transitions.