Kandeh Yumkella on Asia and the Green Energy Revolution: Changing Asia

Video | 19 June 2014

Kandeh Yumkella, UN Secretary-General Special Representative and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All, believes that Asian nations have the capability to lead in the development of renewable and sustainable energy, in what he calls mankind's 'third industrial revolution'.

Transcript

Title: Asia Could Take Lead in the Green Energy Revolution

Description: Kandeh Yumkella, UN Secretary-General Special Representative and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All, believes that Asian nations have the capability to lead in the development of renewable and sustainable energy, in what he calls mankind's 'third industrial revolution'.

Kandeh Yumkella
UN Secretary-General Special Representative
CEO of Sustainable Energy for All

Q: How committed are Asian governments to ensuring sustainable energy?
A: I’m convinced the Asian governments are very committed to achieving sustainable energy for all. There’s some countries in this Asian region where we have seen rapid electrification efforts – Viet Nam. We’ve also seen the drive in of course in China in that respect. So, we really are encouraged that in this region, you don’t only have a drive for sustainable energy for all but Asia as a region has also become the major market for renewables. The estimates I have from some of our institutions is that about over 50% of the renewable energy investments in the last 2 years were in this region. So, Asia by itself is becoming a leader in renewable energy.

Q: How can we attain the sustainable energy for all goal by 2030?
A: I’m an eternal optimist. So, I believe that these goals are achievable by 2030 in this region in particular. I am convinced that in the next decade, people will be demanding better quality life. As we know already from the estimates that almost a billion, from 5, 2 billion people will be moving into the middle class. The quality of life is going to be important to them, reliable and affordable energy will be important to them. They will pressure governments to have the transformations in energy production and supply that is going to be required. That gives me optimism, because those will be educated people, those will be people who do not only care about higher incomes but quality of life becomes important. I am convinced that in the renewable energy and sustainable energy way that we’ve started now, that Asia again will see business opportunity and innovation, and wealth creation opportunity that will make them leap frog and perhaps lead this 3rd industrial revolution as I call it.

Q: How are you motivating governments and the private sector to invest in clean energy?
A: You need a public-private partnership, here is where the political establishment in Asia is going to be crucial. There are certain key decisions they have to take still in energy sector reforms that politicians have to take. My days with you here now in Asia have convinced me that in some countries we don’t have that bold leadership yet because energy issues are still sensitive and so in order to get private sector excited, the parliaments, the political leaders have to take those hard decisions to do energy sector reform in even a more massive scale than was intended, even changing the energy mix.