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Asia Urged to Use Energy More Efficiently

The president of the Asian Development Bank says Asia must use energy more efficiently because as it develops the region will play a big role in climate change. The ADB is holding a three-day meeting in Manila on clean energy sources.

Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda says Asia's growth has brought benefits to the poor, but has also put a serious strain on the environment, resources and energy supplies.

He says energy conservation, security, and efficiency are more important in Asia than ever before.

"Between 1973 and 2003, Asia's energy consumption grew by 230 percent, compared with an average worldwide increase of 75 percent," explained Haruhiko Kuroda. "As a consequence, the region's share of greenhouse gas emissions has risen from less than one-tenth of global emissions to nearly one-quarter."

Greenhouse gas, a byproduct of emissions from burning oil, gasoline, and coal, contributes to global warming. Rising global temperatures are expected to alter rainfall levels, affecting crop yields and water supplies. In addition, in many Asian countries, sharply rising energy consumption is worsening air pollution, and damaging public health.

The ADB president argues that Asia must expand its access to energy to maintain its rapid growth and to keep lifting people out of poverty, but energy production and consumption needs to move to a more sustainable path. Kuroda says the reality of Asia's impact on global warming can no longer be ignored.

The Manila based Asian Development Bank is a non-profit lending institution devoted to helping developing countries in the region expand their economies and cut poverty.

It recently expanded its program of clean energy projects to $1 billion a year. It has planned something called the Carbon Market Initiative, which will help developing countries with financing for cleaner energy technologies.