Obama pitches for more RE investments

by Myrna Velasco – November 19, 2015

from Manila Bulletin

In the bid for inclusive growth of global economies, United States President Barack Obama has called on private investors within countries covered by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to accelerate pace on capital outlay for renewable energy (RE) projects and other clean energy technologies.

His call for intensified RE and clean energy investments in the Manila-hosted APEC Summit is part of the thread of the global leaders’ call for carbon intensity reduction that will be a central theme of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) discussions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris next month.

“An ambitious agreement in Paris will prompt investors to invest in clean energy technology because they understand that the world is committed to a low carbon future,” Obama stressed.

He indicated that “APEC is working to double RE and reduce energy intensity over the next decade… the Green Climate Fund and other avenues are helping developing counties to adapt to climate and leapfrog over the dirtier phases of development.”

The goal on clean energy investments, he expounded, could pare by 45-percent the carbon intensity of the APEC economies over the next two decades.

Amid the growth slowdown of some economies – such as in Brazil’s case, the American leader has asserted that this could be the perfect-timing for APEC countries to re-think their options in meeting energy demand as they prepare for the next phase of upturn in their economic developments.

“As a consequence, the possibility for us to start investing in clean energy, power generation to be sustainable, leapfrogging all technologies and getting into new technologies –all could provide enormous boost and there’s a lot of capital out there looking to invest,” the leader of the world’s most powerful nation has averred.

He stressed that the private sector – aside from pouring in capital for facilities to meet future energy demand must keep the climate change challenge in mind as they craft investment blueprints.

“That’s a signal to the private sector to invest in renewable energy technologies and if we could get trade agreement done, it could drive new jobs and new opportunities and investments in global economy  – that frankly needs a boost right now,” Obama said.

Investments in clean energy and technologies, he said, must not be taken by businesses as threats to their bottom lines but something that presents new opportunities.

“There is not a contradiction between growth, development and being stewards of the planet – they are complementary… we can transition to clean energy without squeezing businesses and consumers,” the US chief executive said, noting that it is already high time to break the mindset “that if we are doing something about climate change, that slows growth… we have to accelerate.”

So far, he noted that the US has been leading the charge in cleaning up its energy sector’s carbon footprints.

“The United States is leading on this issue… since I took over, we have doubled the distance new cars can travel on a gallon of gas by 2025, we are producing three times as much wind power as we were when I came into office and we have about 20 times as much solar power as when I came into office,” he said.

He similarly cited the massive investments being done by the Philippines on solar and wind power projects, as well as the clean energy investment initiatives of other Asian countries like China and Vietnam.