APEC Energy Ministers Focus on Low-Carbon Energy Security

19 June 2010: The ninth meeting of the Energy Ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) convened in Fukui, Japan, on 19 June 2010, under the theme "Low Carbon Paths to Energy Security: Cooperative Energy Solutions for a Sustainable APEC," and agreed to improve energy efficiency and increase the clean energy supply in the APEC region.

New initiatives supported by the Energy Ministers include: a Collaborative Assessment of Standards and Testing scheme to boost trade and investment in energy efficient appliances; a Nuclear Power Emissions Reduction Potential Study to assess the potential for nuclear power to reduce carbon emissions in interested APEC economies; an APEC Smart Grid Initiative to evaluate the potential of smart grids to support the integration of intermittent renewable energies and energy management approaches in buildings and industry; and the Low Carbon Model Town Project aimed at developing best practices to achieve low-emissions urban communities. On the occasion of the meeting, Japan donated approximately US$3.9 million to promote energy efficiency activities and low-carbon measures in APEC, supporting in particular the Low Carbon Model Town Project.

Ministers also allocated the following tasks to APEC's Energy Working Group: working with the International Energy Agency (IEA) to improve the region's oil and gas energy emergency response capacity; evaluating the potential of unconventional sources of natural gas and biofuels; and promoting the development and take-up of low-emission power sources, such as renewable, nuclear and fossil-fuels with carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The Fukui Declaration issued at the conclusion of the meeting reiterates APEC's commitment to rationalizing and phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption. It also indicates that improving energy efficiency is one of the quickest, greenest and most cost-effective ways to concurrently address energy security, economic growth and climate change challenges, in particular in the transport, industry, buildings and equipment sectors. It further stresses that renewables, nuclear and fossil-fuels with CCS can allow electricity generation to expand in a sustainable fashion without the risk of needing to be curtailed to cope with climate change.

In related news, APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade, who met in Sapporo, Japan, on 5-6 June 2010, reaffirmed the importance of furthering the dissemination and utilization of environmental goods and services (EGS) to address environmental challenges, including climate change, as well as to promote sustainable economic growth, and expressed support to progress on the EGS negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO). [APEC Press Release on Energy Ministerial Meeting] [Fukui Declaration] [APEC Press Release on Japan's Donation] [Chair's Statement on APEC Trade Ministerial Meeting]