Asia's Energy Adequacy, Environmental Sustainability, and Affordability: An Overview

Publication | June 2014

This paper asserts that achieving Asian energy security requires managing demand by tackling outmoded subsidies, exploring green innovations in technology and prudent infrastructure design, and changing behavior. 

The three pillars of Asian energy security are an adequate, reliable supply; environmental sustainability; and affordable access for all. As Asians become more affluent, managing demand by tackling outmoded subsidies so prices reflect true costs, exploring green innovations in technology and prudent infrastructure design, and changing behavior will be crucial to achieving security as will expanding both renewable and nonrenewable sources in an environmentally sound and cost-effective manner. Without radical changes to the region’s energy mix, oil consumption will double, natural gas consumption will triple, and coal consumption will increase by 81%. This would double carbon dioxide emissions to nearly 24 billion tons per year by 2035 which is more than the 22 billion tons experts see as the maximum sustainable emissions for the whole world.

To fully manage demand and explore new sources, cooperative programs that integrate energy delivery systems regionally must be implemented. Jointly promoting energy savings and security does not require new technology or pose high costs, but it does require the political will to cooperate and the confidence that makes cooperation possible. Cross-border collaboration is technologically and commercially viable. What is missing is the political commitment to cooperate in energy markets and to build the necessary infrastructure.


  • Abstract
  • The Challenge
  • Containing Burgeoning Energy Demand
  • Tapping Cleaner Energy Supply
  • Fostering Regional Market Collaboration
  • Asia’s Energy Challenge, Reprised
  • References