"A socially just energy transition involves everybody"

Hanoi (Vietnam) – Renewable energy is likely to become increasingly important to the economies of Asia as they address energy security and environmental concerns.

Improving efficiency and declining prices make clean energy choices more and more attractive worldwide.

Diffusion of renewable energy systems is evident in many countries in Asia. For example, governments are intensifying renewable energy and energy efficiency planning, introducing renewable targets for their electricity systems and creating support mechanisms for renewable energy.

This trend in Asia resulted with countries installing the highest renewable power generating capacity during 2016 compared to other regions of the world. Five Asian countries were among the top 10 with new solar photovoltaic installations in 2016: China, Japan, India, Republic of Korea, and the Philippines. Other countries in the region have emerged as important markets for more than one renewable power technology.

Nowadays, many Asian countries are trying to deal with the question how to become part of this fast-moving transition towards a cleaner energy system. But can it be achieved in a socially just manner?

This question drove the discussion at "The Pathway to a Socially Just Energy Transition in Asia," a regional conference organized by the Vietnam office of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) on 20-21 September in Hanoi. The conference brought together experts from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, as well as other countries. Together they discussed the political and social factors that drive, but also hamper socially just energy transitions.

Part of a regional project on climate change, energy and the environment by FES in Asia, the conference also served as an opportunity to present a series of case studies from eight countries in Asia: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

The authors of each case study worked with Miranda Schreurs, professor of environmental and climate policy at the Technical University of Munich, to provide in-depth analysis of the situation in their respective countries.

"When we talk about a socially just energy transition we are talking about one where everyone has access to energy, where energy is clean, affordable, renewable and it’s a structure where you have the voice of the people," says Miranda Schreurs, who is also the co-author of a meta study that summarizes the findings from all eight case studies (<link news promoting-socially-and-economically-just-energy-transformations-in-asia external-link>link to metastudy). "A socially just energy transition is one that involves everybody."

Watch this video for more information on the crucial milestones to achieve a transition towards a cleaner energy system in a socially just manner in Asia and the regional project by FES in Asia on climate change, energy and the environment.

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For more information on the work by FES in Asia on climate change contact Yvonne Blos, Regional Coordinator for Climate Change in Asia, FES Vietnam Office.

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