Southeast Asia can accelerate achievement of Paris Agreement goals

17th May 2017

Last updated 5 June 2017

Low emissions coal in Asia reduces more CO2 emissions than renewable investment in Western Europe.

Jakarta, 17 May 2017- Investing in low emissions coal plants in Southeast Asia would reduce more emissions than the transition to renewables in Europe, according to a new report by the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) and the World Coal Association (WCA).

The report, ASEAN’s Energy Equation - the role of low emission coal in driving a sustainable energy future, is the first comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of climate and energy policies, and sustainable development opportunities that cleaner coal technologies provide to a region that is looking to coal to fuel its growing economy.

Climate finance for low emissions coal would reduce emissions equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes in the next 20 years.

This single action could accelerate the achievement of global climate objectives without sacrificing economic and social development needs in the region.

Over the next 20 years, ASEAN will require 800 terawatt hours of additional electricity each year. To generate this capacity from renewables alone would require an additional $500 billion capital investment in ASEAN economies- 50 times the annual GDP of Laos. In contrast, low emissions coal is more affordable and at the same time reduces emissions.

“Efficient coal generation reduces more CO2 than renewables for each dollar invested,” says WCA Chief Executive Benjamin Sporton. “It is important to inject realism into the debate on how to reduce emissions across Asia. There is no question that cleaner coal is the lowest cost option among all available low-carbon technologies in ASEAN- a region that is rapidly urbanising and industrialising. Coal is forecast to be an essential part of ASEAN’s economic growth. This reality means that it is only logical that the rapidly industrialising and urbanising economies of Asia that are choosing to use coal do so with the lowest emissions technologies.”

“The findings of this report are key to the energy policies of ASEAN Member States,” notes ACE’s Executive Director, Dr. Sanjayan Velautham. “With about 100 million people without electricity, the delivery of affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity is crucial to ASEAN’s predicted economic growth. That’s why, we at ACE believe that modern coal technologies are essential in ensuring that coal is used in a sustainable way that will balance economic needs with climate obligations.”


Editor’s Notes

Key findings

  • If ASEAN shifts its coal capacity to a modern fleet (mainly supercritical technology) by 2035, the region would reduce cumulative emissions by 1.3 billion tonnes- equivalent to the annual emissions from China, United States and the EU (top three CO2 contributors) combined.
  • This shift would also mean that new power stations in ASEAN could be CCS ready too.
  • Investment to ensure an efficient coal fleet in Southeast Asia is vital for global climate ambitions.
  • Southeast Asia requires an additional 800 terawatt hours (TWh) of annual electricity generation between 2020 and 2035.


About ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE)

Established on 1 January 1999, the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) is an intergovernmental organisation within the ASEAN structure that independently represents the 10 ASEAN Member States’ (AMS) interests in the energy sector. It is guided by a Governing Council composed of Senior Officials on Energy from each AMS and a representative from the ASEAN Secretariat as an ex-officio member. Hosted by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia, ACE’s office is located in Jakarta.


About the World Coal Association

The World Coal Association is the only body acting internationally on behalf of coal, with a mission to demonstrate and gain acceptance for the fundamental role coal plays in achieving a sustainable, lower carbon energy future.

The WCA provides a voice for coal in international energy, environment and development forums, and presents the case for coal to key decision-makers.

The WCA is a membership body made up of coal producers, national associations, allied companies and stakeholders. The organisation is led by the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

For more information on what we do, please visit



Nanda F. Moenandar, ACE, +62 21 527 9332 or [email protected]

Adisa Amanor-Wilks, WCA, + 44 (0)20 7851 0052, or [email protected]