1. APEC Japan 2010 Energy Ministers’ Meeting
This year Japan is chairing APEC for the first time in 15 years since the 1995 Osaka APEC meetings. Among the various APEC-related meetings taking place around Japan was the APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting, chaired by METI Minister Masayuki Naoshima in Fukui Prefecture on 19 June. The event attracted considerable attention, not least as the first major international conference to be held in Fukui Prefecture.
The Energy Ministers’ Meeting brings together ministers in charge of energy policy from the Asia-Pacific region, which is forecast to experience the world’s largest increase in energy demand. Since the first meeting in Sydney, Australia in 1996, energy ministers of the APEC region have generally met every two years, achieving many results to date. This year marked the ninth meeting.
In conjunction with the event, a tour of Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor Monju and a test-driving of next-generation vehicles were arranged for interested ministers on 20 June.
|Commemorative photograph of ministers at the APEC Japan 2010 Energy Ministers’ Meeting
2. The 3Es and the Fukui Declaration
Ministers discussed ways to simultaneously achieve the 3Es—energy security, the environment and economic growth—and adopted the Fukui Declaration on Low Carbon Paths to Energy Security. Key outcomes from the meeting are as follows.
Minister Naoshima taking the Fukui Declaration signed by the energy ministers
3. Energy security
The APEC region consumes 60 percent of the world’s energy, but has lacked a robust emergency response mechanism like that of the International Energy Agency (IEA). To redress this, APEC will work with the IEA to boost its emergency response capacity in cases such as oil supply disruptions. Specifically, ministers instructed its subordinate body, the Energy Working Group (EWG), to engage in the emergency response exercises that the IEA conducts every year. The commitment of all APEC economies to participate in such activities signaled major progress.
The recent soaring of oil prices has highlighted easing the energy supply-demand situation as a key energy security issue, and ministers looked at the potential of unconventional gas.
4. Energy efficiency
Ministers instructed the EWG to intensify analysis of the potential for further the energy intensity reduction goal of reducing the ratio of energy use to economic output by at least 25 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Since last year, Japan has been leading the APEC Peer Review on Energy Efficiency (PREE) program, whereby APEC economies review each others’ energy efficiency goals and action plans, and ministers affirmed the success of the program, instructing the EWG to continue and extend it.
In terms of specific sectors, ministers instructed the EWG to conduct a series of assessments of standards and testing to encourage trade in energy efficient buildings and appliances.
In addition, given the continuous importance of fossil fuels, and particularly coal, in the APEC region, the clean and efficient use of these fuels is a critical issue for the region. Ministers consequently urged to develop and deploy clean coal technologies and instructed the EWG to develop an initiative for deploying advanced clean coal technologies.
5. Clean energy
Ministers agreed to promote the deployment of renewable energies (solar, wind, geothermal, bioenergy), nuclear power and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) as low-emission power sources. As a cooperative program, Minister Naoshima proposed and ministers consequently instructed the EWG to explore mechanisms to encourage APEC economies to set individual goals and action plans for introducing low-emission power sources. In particular, it was instructed to undertake a Nuclear Power Emissions Reduction Potential Study, and ministers affirmed the importance of solid financial framework to support new nuclear power plant construction.
6. APEC Low-Carbon Model Town Project
Ministers accepted Minister Naoshima’s proposal on the implementation of an APEC Low-Carbon Model Town Project to present successful models for coordinated usage of advanced low-carbon technologies in urban areas. Japan will donate one billion yen to APEC over the next three years to conduct feasibility studies in 10 to 20 locations toward making such communities a reality.
Utilization of the funds which Japan has donated will encourage the region’s low-carbon conversion and contribute to enhance energy security in the APEC region.
|Memorandum exchanged with the APEC Secretariat on Japan’s donation of an APEC support fund for low-carbon and energy efficiency
7. The challenges we face
（original article : Japanese）
It is incumbent on us address the challenging task of ensuring energy security amidst global environmental issues and a global economic downturn. The 3Es are not necessarily consistent with each other. To reduce carbon emissions to redress global environmental issues can in some cases require sacrificing a certain amount of economic growth. Coal is also excellent from the perspective of energy security, but is undesirable from the perspective of reducing carbon emissions. The task facing us is to achieve all of the 3Es simultaneously and lock in sustained and stable growth. The Fukui Declaration lays out a specific roadmap within the framework of APEC cooperation. The results of the Energy Ministers’ Meeting should provide valuable input for the APEC Growth Strategy under discussion in the lead-up to the APEC ministerial and leaders’ meetings to be held in Yokohama this November.
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