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Economic self-interest can fuel clean energy drive

Cuts in coal could help Southeast Asia achieve both higher fuel consumption and lower emissions

| China
Air pollution concerns rather than global warming were the main motivation for China to push for more sustainable energy.

Southeast Asia's energy demand is expected to rise by two-thirds by 2040 -- twice the pace of overall global demand. Per capita energy use is low and there is much pent-up demand, particularly for electricity. This demand has to be met if living standards are to rise as expected. However, the region must contribute to substantial cuts in global carbon emission if the Paris Agreement target to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius this century is to be met. Is there any realistic hope of reconciling these conflicting realities?

The intergovernmental International Energy Agency published its new global outlook report on Nov. 14, bringing together countries' energy and emissions plans. It expects global energy demand to rise by 30% by 2040.

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